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Myanmar on notice for WEF conference

June 5, 2013 at 12:23 PM   |   Comments

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, June 5 (UPI) -- Delegates to the World Economic Forum in Myanmar shouldn't be fooled by pomp and circumstance, a human rights leader said Wednesday.

The World Economic Forum announced delegates started arriving early this week in Myanmar for its annual summit. Hosting the event is a first for Myanmar and the WEF said in a statement 900 participants from 55 countries are expected to attend.

The WEF said the theme of the conference is "Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration."

Economic pressure on Myanmar eased in response to a series of democratic reforms that started with general elections in 2010. Human rights groups have expressed concern that phasing out sanctions would ease the pressure that encouraged reforms in the first place.

Violence in Myanmar, formerly known also as Burma, since political reforms is centered on separatist campaigns and fighting between Buddhists and the Muslim minority.

Paul Donowitz, campaign director for EarthRights International, told the Thai newspaper The Irrawaddy "the voices of the people" should be a factor in considering foreign investments in Myanmar.

Burma Campaign U.K. Director Zoya Phan told The Irrawaddy those attending the conference "must not allow fine words and fine wine to fool them into thinking that they are visiting a country making a transition to democracy."

The conference, which runs through Friday, is focused on broad-based Asian economic development.

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