Myanmar’s Military Leaders Talk With U.S. Envoy for Human Rights

Her rapists were sentenced to life in prison. Now they’re free, and she’s in hiding.

When she was six years old, her mother and her siblings were kidnapped from her home in Kachin’s Yangon state capital. The local government initially blamed a Kachin rebel for the disappearance, but when villagers realized the abductors were from the family of the government’s prime ministerial candidate, they blamed the rebels, too. It was a tragic mix-up that was exploited by the Kachin rebels.

Myanmar is in the crosshairs of the U.S. military’s “strategic patience” policy of military-led economic development that seeks to bring the country on a path toward democracy and prosperity. At the same time, Myanmars are suffering increasing levels of social instability and economic dislocation, which threaten the nation’s future.

The plight of Myanmars and other ethnic minorities living in poverty was on the list of issues President Trump will address during his first full week in office. During a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on January 11, Trump called out Myanmar’s military leaders, saying he hoped to speak with them as soon as possible.

The U.S. Army, on the other hand, has been working with local governments to improve the safety of civilians living in border areas and to improve economic conditions in the areas. But the military’s heavy-handed tactics, including abductions of civilians by the Myanmar army, have continued, creating a human rights crisis that may undermine Myanmar’s future and threaten U.S. security.

We asked the U.S. envoy for human rights, Kenneth Roth, for a discussion with the two former generals, who have now been released from their U.S. prison sentences, as well as with our Myanmar specialist, Anna Kislyi, and human rights expert, David Matas.

The interview follows.

Anna Kislyi: How did you end up in U.S. prison in your country?

General Maung Mung, former commander of Myanmar’s Military Freedom and Democracy Party: I was first imprisoned for five years and then for eight years. And then I was transferred to the U.S., where I was incarcerated for the remainder of my life. So, I have served four years in

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