"The time for democracy and reconciliation in Burma is long overdue"
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today joined First Lady Laura Bush and several of his colleagues in marking the launch of the Senate Women's Caucus on Burma. The Caucus is co-chaired by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).
During the event, Leader McConnell praised the First Lady for her continued leadership in calling for freedom and democracy in Burma. He also highlighted her participation in a roundtable discussion at the UN last September and its importance in keeping attention focused on the suffering in Burma.
"I believe the creation of the Women's Caucus on Burma will have the same impact; reflecting the growing outrage here and abroad over atrocities and injustices in Burma," said McConnell. "I have no doubt it will be a powerful tool in the effort to bring about long-overdue reforms."
Senators McConnell and Feinstein will soon introduce the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which is reauthorized annually and prohibits imports from Burma unless the regime takes a number of clear, concrete steps toward democracy and reconciliation.
"The U.S. has led the way in promoting freedom in Burma through sanctions, which have led to a slow but steady change in the international perception of the Burmese regime," McConnell added. "My hope is that incremental changes in international perception will begin to influence the behavior of the Burmese regime itself. The time for democracy and reconciliation in Burma is long overdue."
The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act currently has 45 cosponsors.