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Kerry urges Myanmar to promote further human rights reforms

[JURIST] US Secretary of State John Kerry [official profile] offered support to Myanmar's newly democratic government Sunday and urged the country to push more democratic reform and address human rights issues. Though Myanmar is no longer under military rule, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has stated [Reuters report] that the military will continue to hold seats in parliament until the country has attained peace. Kerry met with Hlaing to discuss political reforms important for Myanmar to complete its transition to a fully democratic system. During Kerry's Myanmar visit, a topic of primary concern has been the continuing displacement and persecution of the country's Rohingya Muslim population. Since 2012, about 125,000 Rohingya Muslims have been displaced after fleeing the conflict between Myanmar Muslims and Buddhists. Kerry has continued talks with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile] to resolve the conflict's ongoing human rights issues. Suu Kyi has stressed the sensitivity of the matter and has requested that Mynamar be given space to address the conflict as it deems necessary. Suu Kyi further pleaded the US to refrain from using the term "Rohingya" in public statements. Despite recent uproar against the use of the term, US officials have stated that they will continue to use the term according to governmental policy.

The democratic reform process has continued in Myanmar since ending a decades-old military rule. Last month 69 political prisoners were released [JURIST report] who had been jailed for more than a year without trial. In March Amnesty International said [JURIST report] that Myanmar's new government has been presented with a historic opportunity to change course on human rights. Also in March Myanmar released [JURIST report] 46 underage child recruits from the military as part of a UN join action plan. In January the country began [JURIST report] the process of releasing the first set of 102 mostly political prisoners days before a democratic power transfer took place.

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