Once again, the news from Burma rings with echoes of despair. The latest mission from the international community has ended in embarrassment — not for the despotic generals who rule Burma (renamed Myanmar by its illegitimate regime), but for the United Nations and its ineffectual efforts. It seems no one who matters wants to waste any more time meeting with the U.N. envoy. And now, unconfirmed reports say the iconic leader of the pro-democracy opposition, the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, may have started a hunger strike. Once again, Burma stands like a conscience-searing mirage on the Asian horizon, […]

Moments of candor from sub-Saharan African politicians are rare, but they do occur. Near the end of 2005, Eriya Kategaya, then a former cabinet minister in Uganda, criticized the role of Western donors in supporting the personal rule of leaders like Yoweri Museveni. “Hinging the destiny of a country to an individual is absolutely not correct,” he said. Granted, Kategaya, once again a cabinet minister, delivered his lament while temporarily ejected from Uganda’s ruling party for opposing Museveni’s push to erase presidential term limits. But that should not blunt his analysis. The West and its development industry have serially backed […]

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CONTINUING CONCERNS ABOUT CHINESE HUMAN RIGHTS — The spectacular Olympic picture China has sought to paint for a world audience continues to be marred by human rights abuses, as media outlets, human rights groups and international diplomats put pressure on the Olympic host to ease controls on the Chinese people. U.S. President George W. Bush made several public calls for China to end repression during his high-profile visit to Asia and the Games, including an appeal outside a Beijing church, where Bush told journalists “God is universal and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the […]

Editor’s note: Rights & Wrongs covers the world’s major human rights-related news and appears every week in World Politics Review. To browse past editions of Rights & Wrongs, click here.MELANCHOLY BURMA COMMEMORATES 8-8-88 — Pro-democracy supporters both inside and outside Burma last week marked the 20th anniversary of that country’s Aug. 8, 1988, uprising against military rule with demonstrations around the globe, but few held out much hope of impending change. The military presence inside Burma was high for the anniversary though no major demonstrations were reported. Millions of Burmese took to the country’s streets in the summer of 1988 […]

When the Olympic Games begin in Beijing on Friday, it will be just about impossible to avoid getting caught up in the excitement. The world’s collective eyes will become fixed on Beijing, or rather on television screens beaming images from China’s meticulously organized games. Behind the human drama and dazzling athleticism, however, will continue to loom troubling truths about the Olympics: truths not just about these games, but about the entire exercise, the organization that runs it, and the way the spectacular event has been manipulated over decades for political purposes. The Olympics long ago became the ideal platform for […]

SEOUL, South Korea — Following talks here this week with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, U.S. President George W. Bush said North Korea must do more if it wants to retire its membership in the “axis of evil.” And for the first time during the six-party talks, U.S. diplomacy appears focused on North Korea’s human rights record.Seoul was the first stop of Bush’s last tour of Asia while in the White House. At a press conference following his third meeting with Lee since the conservative South Korean president took office in February, a reporter asked Bush if North Korea still […]

Editor’s Note: Rights & Wrongs covers the world’s major human rights-related news and appears every week. Click here to browse the Rights & Wrongs archives.REPORT: CHINA’S TIBET CRACKDOWN HAS INTENSIFIED — China’s crackdown on Tibet has only intensified in days before the Olympic Games, according to a new report from the International Campaign for Tibet, a human rights group with offices in Washington and Europe. “Despite its promotion of a ‘peaceful Olympics,’ China has intensified its crackdown on Tibet this week following the most significant uprising in nearly 50 years,” the Aug. 5 report, “Tibet at a Turning Point: the […]