Condemning the Military Junta in Burma

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: May 18, 2006
Location: Washington, DC


CONDEMNING THE MILITARY JUNTA IN BURMA

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, today's Burma resolution reflects the Senate's grave concern about the deteriorating situation in Burma. It also reflects the view of the Senate that, while a second United Nations Security Council briefing on Burma is welcomed, there now needs to be a legally binding, nonpunitive resolution regarding Burma passed by the U.N. Security Council. Absent such action, the Association of South East Asian Nations could very well end up being tougher on Burma than the U.N. The Senate has expressed its concern for the plight of the Burmese not only through this resolution but also by recently including $5 million in the emergency supplemental bill to assist refugees from Burma who are in Thailand.

On a related note, I have concerns about the visit of U.N. envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to Burma this week. This visit should not be viewed as a success unless and until Mr. Gambari has an audience with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese leader, Than Shwe. Mr. Gambari should consider cutting his trip short if it becomes apparent he will not be permitted to hold these meetings, or if the SPDC otherwise interferes with his visit.

I would also add that I applaud the President's action today in extending the state of emergency with respect to Burma. It reflects the clear recognition by the President of the grave problems facing this beleaguered country.

These problems were poignantly addressed by Benedict Rogers, in his May 16, 2006, piece in The Wall Street Journal. In that piece, Rogers told of his encounter with a 15-year-old Burmese boy. This youth had witnessed the murder of both parents and the razing of his village and had endured abduction into forced labor. He hauntingly pleaded to Rogers `[p]lease tell the world not to forget us.' The Senate has not forgotten Burma and it is my profound hope that the U.N. will not either.

http://thomas.loc.gov/