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TIME: 18:00-19:00, Tuesday 28 June 2016
VENUE: Committee Room 10, House of Commons, Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA
SPEAKER: Benedict Rogers, Author of Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads, and East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity
For over half a century, Burma was ruled by a succession of military dictatorships which brutally suppressed dissent and perpetrated violations of human rights which many experts would describe as crimes against humanity. Thousands of activists were jailed, many killed, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest. Yet in 2011, Burma’s President Thein Sein, a former General, began to introduce some political reforms, opening up the country, relaxing restrictions on political opposition, and paving the way for elections. On 8 November 2015, Burma’s first reasonably credible election in a quarter of a century took place, and Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming majority. On 30 March the new President, Htin Kyaw, was inaugurated and the new NLD-led government took office. However, this is not the end of Burma’s struggle, and the country continues to face a whole range of challenges. Under the Constitution introduced by the military in 2008, Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be President, the military have 25 per cent of the parliamentary seats reserved for them, and the military controls three key ministries: home affairs, border affairs and defence. Decades of armed conflict in Burma’s ethnic states remain unresolved. Several hundred thousand people remain internally displaced in parts of Burma, with thousands more as refugees on Burma’s borders. Religious intolerance has also arisen as a major cause of tension in the country, with a powerful extremist Buddhist nationalist movement spreading hatred and inciting violence. Poverty, corruption, poor education, health care and drug addiction all pose further challenges for Burma’s fragile new democracy.
By kind invitation of Fiona Bruce MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to an event with Benedict Rogers, Author of Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads and East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity who has visited Burma and its borders more than 50 times and is the author of three books about the country. Rogers will explore the current issues in Burma and address the question: where does Burma go from here?
To attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org – RSVPs must include your full name and any affiliations including for any guests you wish to bring. We will send a confirmation that will be required to attend the event.
Benedict Rogers is the East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), where he specialises in research and advocacy on freedom of religion and wider human rights in Burma, Indonesia and North Korea and oversees work on China, Vietnam and Laos. He is the author of four books including Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant and has co-authored a further two books. Benedict regularly briefs senior Government ministers and officials, UK Members of Parliament, the European Union, United Nations officials, US Congressional offices and the State Department on human rights and freedom of religion or belief in Asia, and has testified in hearings at the European Parliament, the House of Commons, the Japanese Diet and the US Congress. He is a regular contributor to international media, including The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, The Huffington Post, The Guardian and The Catholic Herald, and has appeared on BBC, CNN, Sky and Al-Jazeera.