Photo: Formerly banned … (clockwise from top left) John Pilger, Sharan Burrow, the late Corazon Aquino and Madeleine Albright.
Burma Removes Hundreds from Blacklist
Stephen: The previously secretive and inaccessible Burma continues to move further into the light and transforms towards unity consciousness.
Suu Kyi’s sons among hundreds Burma removes from blacklist
By Lindsay Murdoch, Sydney Morning Herald – September 1, 2012
Lindsay Murdoch is a previously blacklisted journalist who will now be allowed to officially return to Burma
BANGKOK: The Burmese government has removed hundreds of people from its long-secretive immigration blacklist, including the two sons of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and dozens of prominent Australians.
The move is the latest sign of change in the once secretive and oppressive nation, coming only days after a cabinet reshuffle that strengthened the authority of reformers at the expense of hardliners.
”These relaxations are in line with the country’s transformation,” Nay Zin Latt, a spokesman for the President, Thein Sein, said before the list of 1147 people began circulating in Burma.
Dr Nay Zin Latt said more names on a list believed to number about 6000 would eventually be removed and ”only those who were put on the blacklist due to criminal and economic misdemeanours will remain on the blacklist”.
For decades, Burma’s military regime punished critics by banning them or their family members from the country.
Since last year, Ms Suu Kyi’s sons, Alexander Aris, 39, and Kim Aris, 34, have been given selected visas to visit their mother, after years of separation, but they will now be able to visit whenever they want.
The list includes scores of journalists and human rights activists as well as the former president of the Philippines Corazon Aquino, who died three years ago, the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and Baroness Glenys Kinnock, a former member of the European Parliament and the wife of the former British Labour leader Neil Kinnock
One of the Australians delisted was simply referred to as ”Brian”. Others include the former ACTU president Sharan Burrow, the Australian National University south-east Asia expert Desmond Ball, Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher on Burma, David Mathieson, the long-time Burma watcher Phil Thornton, and the journalist John Pilger.
The government has also announced 2000 Burmese exiles on an immigration blacklist – many of whome are former public servants who fled in the 1980s – can freely enter the country, prompting speculation many more names will be removed from blacklists in coming days.
The government abolished direct censorship on Burma’s media last month in the most dramatic move yet towards allowing freedom of expression. Under new rules, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication as they have had to do for almost 50 years.
Lindsay Murdoch is among the formerly blacklisted journalists who will now be allowed to officially return to Burma.