Myanmar's parliament passed a new foreign investment law on Friday after months of debate and modifications. The final version of the bill reportedly dropped some of the most controversial provisions, including a requirement that foreign investors contribute at least $5 million [Reuters report] when engaging in joint ventures with local businesses. Myanmar President Thein Sein [BBC profile] had opposed the minimum contribution requirement and other provisions of the bill because he believed they would discourage foreign investment in the country. Sein has advocated economic reform in Myanmar he took office in 2011, after winning the first election held in the country in 20 years. Myanmar's previous military regime maintained restrictive economic policies that crippled the economy. The parliament passed the amended bill on the last day of its session and it will now pass to Sein for final approval.
While Myanmar continues to take steps forward in its reformation efforts, it has recently faced struggles with regards to sectarian violence within the country. Earlier this week Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released a report concluding that Myanmar's army is still committing human rights abuses [JURIST report] against ethnic minorities in Karen state. Last week the country sentenced two UN staff members [JURIST report] to prison for their involvement in sectarian violence. This was one week after Sein announced creation of a 27-member commission [JURIST report] to investigate causes of the violence. Earlier this month, however, HRW accused Myanmar forces of committing multiple human rights violations [JURIST report] following an outbreak of sectarian violence. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also expressed concern [JURIST report] last month about both the continued violence in Myanmar and the country's human rights abuses committed in dealing with it.