Myanmar urged to follow shake-up of jade industry with more action on human rights

A buyer checks a jade stone in Yangon, Mynamar, in this 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Myanmar's poorly-regulated industry, estimated to be worth $31 billion, almost half of the country's economic output, has been accused of looting the country's mineral wealth with little regard for local people and the environment.

Now, a decision by the government not to renew mining permits for jade nor to issue new ones until a reformed legal framework is in place has been hailed as a game changer by campaigners that could lead to overhaul of the entire gemstone mining industry.

"It suggests Aung San Suu Kyi's government is serious about reform and could help turn the page on the ruthless military rule, cronyism and human rights abuses of the recent past," says Juman Kubba, senior campaigner at British-based charity Global Witness.

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