Since 2010 the Burmese military Government has embarked on an agenda of reform and modernisation, the speed of which has taken many by surprise. The reforms have seen the release of 1,100 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the relaxation of restrictions on freedom of the press and of expression...
Foreign Secretary William Hague deserves a lot of credit for helping to persuade the Burmese government to sign this declaration, but he should remember Thein Sein's broken promise on releasing all political prisoners by the end of last year, and keep up the pressure to make sure he keeps his word this time.
The aid and development sectors work hard to promote and maintain an air of importance and legitimacy, but there are some hard truths that we need to face if the industry is to grow and address the huge challenges we, as a global community, continue to come up against - climate change and the increased frequency of natural disasters, unhindered economic growth causing environmental and social deterioration and the rise of political fundamentalism, just to name a few.
Given the opportunity to clearly condemn attacks against Muslims, she repeatedly refused to do so. Instead she generalised by saying she condemned all violence and hatred. She has moral authority like no other person in Burma. When she speaks, people listen. If she strongly condemned attacks on Muslims it would make a difference.
In the last year, country has seen rapid development of its infrastructure (the country now has over 200 hotels), a surge in tourist arrivals and a first visit from Obama; the growth of Myanmar is an upward curve hereon. In the first six months of 2012, international arrivals increased by 30% compared to 2011 (Ministry of Hotels and Tourism).
Are you suspicious of how much 50p a day can really do? I was. As a mum of two, I appreciate that we are constantly asked to give and I do question where their money goes. Now I've seen first-hand just what this amount of money can do and where it goes: not just to the children, but to their families and communities too.