It was recently diplomatically suggested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to US ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel that he should not perhaps use the term “Rohingya” as it was “not supportive of national reconciliation”. The ambassador however has defended his use of the term.
Pope Francis has called corruption “the gangrene of a people.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has labelled it a “radicaliser,” because it “destroys faith in legitimate authority.” And British Prime Minister David Cameron has described it as “one of the greatest enemies of progress in our time”.
Almost half a century ago, there was a famous television show in the United States called All in the Family. The parents and their daughter and son-in-law argued constantly over the same silly things we all argue over; but they always stayed together and ultimately made up. That is how it is in this region’s politics these days and it is becoming more pronounced – not just the family ties, but the bickering and the begrudging reconciliation.
Lee Jones, a senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, has just published Societies Under Siege: Exploring How International Economic Sanctions (Do Not) Work. In it, he evaluates the use and success of sanctions in three key cases – South Africa, Iraq and Myanmar – and finds that sanctions rarely achieve their stated aims. We spoke to Jones via Skype.
In February in Addis Ababa, African health ministers signed a widely celebrated declaration of their commitment to keeping immunisation at the forefront of efforts to save the continent’s children from death and disease. Fulfilling that commitment will be no easy feat. Immunisation is not just a health issue; it is also an economic challenge.
I must start with a correction. My column last week spoke about the abusive system of apartheid in Rakhine State that means Muslim people are kept in camps and forced to make dangerous, sometimes fatal, journeys to access basic supplies because they are not allowed to travel freely.