MP: Myanmar needs more reforms

Jan. 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A lawmaker in Myanmar welcomed the lifting of a ban on public gatherings but said more was needed from a government keen on political reform.

Myanmar President Thein Sein lifted a 25-year-old ban on public gatherings in the latest political reform. Myanmar has received international praise for reforms that began with general elections in 2010.

Parliamentarian Thein Nyunt was quoted by The Irrawaddy, a Myanmar newspaper published in Thailand, as saying the latest decision lifted a "burden on civilians."

"I welcomed that they abolished such an unnecessary order," he said.

The government decided to lift the ban after ruling the martial order wasn't in line with the country's constitution.

The lawmaker, however, said the government needed to do more, however. He said the government was still restricting "the free flow of information" on the Internet.

Human Rights Watch pressed Myanmar's government on demonstrations early this month when charges were filed against nine activists for protesting in September without a government permit.

Phil Robertson, director of Asia programs at Human Rights Watch, said the government needs a "mental reset" in order to re-assess its stance on democracy given recent political reforms.

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