Change is happening in the Myanmar government, and both the U.S. and U.N. seem pretty keen to see it through to the end.
The U.S. Treasury department announced on Wednesday that they have lifted sanctions against President of Myanmar Thein Sein and Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann. They will now have access to any U.S. assets or property they might own and be allowed to make transactions in the U.S.
“Thein Sein and Thura Shwe Mann have taken concrete steps to promote political reforms and human rights and to move Burma away from repression and dictatorship toward democracy and freedom, warranting today’s delisting action,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury David S. Cohen.
The announcement coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama meeting with Burmese opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and, according to a release from the White House, he “expressed admiration for her courage, determination and personal sacrifice in the championing of democracy and human rights.”
Suu Kyi also got a small chance to play with Bo, the Obama family Portuguese water dog.
On Thursday, U.N. Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Tomás Ojea Quintana expressed his support for the granting of amnesty and release of several “prisoners of conscience” by the Myanmar government.
“Bold steps are needed now to overcome the legacy of the past and to ensure that no prisoners of conscience are left behind,” Quintana said in a statement.
“I am encouraged by the continuing steps taken by the government of Myanmar to release remaining prisoners of conscience. These people must not be forgotten and left languishing in prison.”
The number of political prisoners in Myanmar is not known.