Rights group questions Myanmar reforms

April 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

PARIS, April 11 (UPI) -- The European Union should keep some sanctions in place to let Myanmar's government know it's time to take reform seriously, a global rights federation said.

World governments have eased some sanctions on Myanmar in response to a series of political reforms that began with general elections in 2010. The European Union decided in April 2010 to suspend some sanctions and is set to review the situation later this month.

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French initials FIDH, said there have been positive developments made in Myanmar, though the country isn't yet out of the woods.

FIDH joined Myanmar advocacy groups in noting that more than 200 political prisoners remain behind bars and the situation for minority communities is cause for concern.

Myanmar's government imposed curfews and states of emergency last month in response to fighting between Buddhists and minority Muslims. The violence has claimed at least 40 lives since March 20.

FIDH said humanitarian access to parts of the country gripped by similar violence last year hasn't yet improved.

"We believe that, in light of these ongoing abuses and, in many instances, deteriorating human rights situation, the presence of sanctions, in suspended state, is a necessary safeguard to ensure that Myanmar continues on its path to reform," the organization said.

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