Joint General Secretary of the Kachin National Organisation (KNO) & friend of the OBA
Originally published 26 April 2012 by The Oxford Student (reprinted with permission)
On Friday 13th April, David Cameron became the first British Prime Minister to visit Burma since independence in 1948. He said the UK would argue in favour of suspending – not lifting – all EU sanctions on Burma, except the arms embargo. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also backed this position. Since the UK has been the only EU member arguing to keep sanctions in place, sanctions are likely to be suspended, probably after the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 23rd April 2012.
The day before the PM prepared for his historic visit to Burma, he praised President Thein Sein for his “courage” in introducing political reforms. He stated: “If Burma moves towards democracy then we should respond in kind, and we should not be slow in doing that. But, first I want to go and see for myself on the ground how things are going.” I am sure that David Cameron saw signs of progress, especially “on the ground” in Yangon and central Burma, which is the main majority Burman populated area of the country. I am from Kachin State, in the north of the country, but for me, my relatives and my friends, change “on the ground” has not yet come. In fact, in recent months the situation has deteriorated dramatically.