Bill to Restore Civilian, Democratic Rule in Burma Passes Senate
Last night, the Senate passed the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 (H.R. 3890), spearheaded by Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE). The bill promotes the restoration of civilian, democratic rule to the troubled state of Burma. It was approved unanimously by both the House and Senate - reflecting a bipartisan, bicameral commitment by the United States Congress to the people of Burma.
"This bill is a tribute to my dear friend, Tom Lantos, who worked tirelessly on behalf of human rights for the people of Burma, and stood by them throughout their long struggle for democratic civilian rule," said Sen. Biden. "We must continue Tom's work. Working together with the international community, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU, India, and China, I look forward to the day when a democratic, peaceful Burma will be fully integrated into the community of nations."
The Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act will:
* Impose new financial sanctions and travel restrictions on the leaders of the junta and their associates;
* Tighten the economic sanctions Congress imposed in 2003 by outlawing the importation of Burmese gems to the United States; and
* Create a new position of Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma. The Special Representative will work with Burma's neighbors and other interested countries, including the members of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to develop a comprehensive approach to the problem, including pressure, dialogue, and support for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian relief to the Burmese people.