House Supports Democracy in Burma

Posted on by Jesse Lee

Today, the House voted 413-2 in favor of H. Con. Res. 200, Condemning the Violent Suppression of Buddhist Monks and Other Peaceful Demonstrators in Burma, which denounces the violence and human rights violations in Burma and calls for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Speaker Pelosi:
“And so my colleagues I again commend Aung San Suu Kyi as she years ago called on individuals, organizations, and governments to support Burma’s democracy movement. And at that time she said, ‘please use your liberty to promote ours.’ Today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, we are doing just that. I commend Aung San Suu Kyi for her courage and her leadership, the people of Burma are rising up and demanding their country back. The world must meet this challenge to our conscience.”

In recent days, the courageous people of Burma have stood up and risked everything to secure democracy and basic human rights for their country. For the last 17 years, a military junta has brutally ruled Burma with repression and violence, accumulating one of the worst human rights records in the world. It has held Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of the National League for Democracy party, under house arrest for 12 of the last 17 years.

The legislation urges the military regime in Burma to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, calls for an immediate end to attacks against ethnic minority civilians, and expresses support for democracy. Finally, it urges China and other countries that provide support to Burma's military junta to use their influence to restore democracy and end the violence.

This resolution sends a strong message to the Burmese government: violence must end, and democracy must be restored. The military junta has turned peaceful protest into violence — killing several protestors and injuring hundreds, many of whom are Buddhist monks. The protests began in response to the government's August 19th cancellation of fuel subsidies. On September 24th, some 100,000 people marched in what is considered the largest anti-government demonstrations to take place in two decades.

Specifically, this resolution resolves that the U.S. Congress on behalf of the American people:

    Condemns the recent despicable crackdown on peaceful protesters in Burma in the strongest possible terms and demands that the Burmese junta end its violent crackdown on dissent

    Demands that China and other countries that provide political and economic support to Burma's military junta end such support until the Burmese regime's violent campaign against peaceful protest has ceased and the Burmese government has fully met the political demands of the Burmese opposition

    Firmly insists that Burma's military regime begin a meaningful tripartite political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy, and the ethnic nationalities toward national reconciliation, and the full restoration of democracy and internationally-recognized human rights

    Demands the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi, detained Buddhist monks, and all other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience

    Calls on governments around the world to severely tighten their sanctions regimes against Burma, including through the imposition of import bans such as maintained by the United States, with the goal of denying the Burmese ruling junta with hard currency to continue its campaign of repression

    Calls on the United Nations Security Council to immediately pass a resolution imposing multilateral sanctions on Burma's military regime, including a complete arms embargo, and to take other appropriate action to respond to the growing threat the military junta poses in Burma

    Calls on the United States government to work with our global partners to bring to justice those Burmese military and government leaders who have ordered or participated in any massacre during or after the protests, or who may be guilty of crimes against humanity

    Calls on the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to immediately suspend Burma's membership in such organization as a response to the violent crackdown on political protesters.

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