President Thein Sein and his reform government have made important changes in Myanmar. Many political prisoners are free, real steps are under way to bring in basic freedoms of speech and gathering. The elected Myanmar parliament has engaged in open dialogue and criticism, especially since the election of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The president has shown a desire to engage the world community.

While the achievements of the past two years are encouraging, Myanmar is still suffering the effects of its 60-year isolation. The country's treatment of minorities is not just outdated prejudice. It is racism and discrimination, unacceptable in 21st century Asean and the rest of the world. It is troubling that Myanmar attempts to defend its treatment of the Rohingya, Kachin, Karen and other "separate people".