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Public Statements

Approving Renewal of Import Restrictions Against Burma

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this important resolution to renew sanctions against the brutal military dictators in Burma.

The plight facing the people of Burma remains terrible. The ruling party in Burma continues to use the rule of law and government apparatus to deprive minority groups of their human rights and their lives, and it does so with impunity. The regime's human rights violations continue to be horrific. The regime in Burma is responsible for committing virtually every human rights violation imaginable. The atrocities perpetrated by the regime range from the use of rape as a weapon of terror, the recruitment of child soldiers, ethnic cleansing, forced labor, political detention, and the list goes on.

I have received firsthand reports in my office which detail the dictatorship's use of ethnic minorities as human landmine sweepers. Over 1 million refugees and 500,000 internally displaced peoples have been forced to flee their homes, and 750,000 of the country's inhabitants remain stateless. Indicative of the times, the regime has now turned to the censorship of the Internet, as well as that of individual e-mail accounts and social networking sites, to block the dissemination of evidence related to the atrocities.

The Burmese Government must realize that such attempts to hide its record of abuse, as well as its dishonest elections and mock constitutional reforms, cannot cover up the junta's war against its own people. Such a record only demonstrates the regime's illegitimacy.

I call on the administration to renew its efforts in fulfilling the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, particularly the provision which requires our government to craft a multilateral sanctions regime against Burma.

By renewing these sanctions, Congress is making our Nation's concern for human rights paramount in our foreign relations interests. The administration should do the same. The people of Burma must know that we stand with them.


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