Saturday, November 15, 2014

Obama Urges Equality For Religious Minorities In Burma

In Burma yesterday, President Obama held a joint news conference (full text) with opposition politician Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Asked about his discussions with the Burmese President and political leaders on constitutional change, President Obama said in part:
I indicated that we are paying attention to how religious minorities are treated in this country.  Now, I recognize the complexities of the situation in Rakhine state.  On the other hand, consistent with what Daw Suu just said, I am a firm believer that any legitimate government has to be based on rule of law and a recognition that all people are equal under the law.  And discrimination against the Rohingya or any other religious minority I think does not express the kind of country that Burma over the long term wants to be.  And I know of no successful democracy in which sectarian or religious divisions are allowed to fester, or the people of different faiths are treated as second-class citizens.  Ultimately, that is destabilizing to a democracy.