It doesn’t take much looking to find a “2013 Travel Hotspots” list that includes Burma. Fifteen years after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) first called for a boycott on tourism to the country, citing linkages between tourism profits and human rights abuses, Burma has reappeared on the tourist map in a big way. Last year the NLD relaxed their stance on the boycott, indicating that tourism may benefit the country’s development. Since then, tour operators have been overwhelmed by the demand for trips to the emerging Southeast Asian country.
But although the NLD party won a majority of seats in the April 2012 elections, ongoing human rights abuses continue. In 2012, the number of internal refugees had risen to more than 450,000—in 2011 alone, an estimated 150,000 people were forced to flee their homes—many of which are denied access to humanitarian aid. According to Burma Campaign UK, hundreds of political prisoners remain in captivity, while continued army attacks against ethnic minorities are occurring, which include the use of rape, torture, forced labour and child soldiers.
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