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Blitzkrieg on Freedom in Burma

Location: Washington, DC


    Mr. MCCONNELL. Mr. President, this weekend's violent repression of democracy activists in Burma underscores the illegitimacy and brutality of the State Peace and Development Council, SPDC, and its political arm, the Union Solidarity Development Association, USDA.

    Although reports are still coming in from the field, Burmese democracy activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and supporters of the National League for Democracy, NLD, were attacked on Saturday by armed agents of the junta in Yaway Oo, some 400 miles north of Rangoon. Four people were reported killed, and scores injured and arrested—including Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD.

    Given the SPDC's total disregard for the human rights and dignity of the people of Burma, I expect the death toll and number of arrests relating to this incident to rise over the next few days and weeks.

    Between the attack and the closure of NLD offices and universities, the SPDC has launched a blitzkrieg on freedom in Burma.

    My immediate concern is for the welfare of all NLD members and their supporters, and for safety and security of Suu Kyi. The world must know for certain that Suu Kyi is alive and well. It is absolutely essential that U.N. Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail meet with Suu Kyi and other imprisoned activists should he travel to Burma later this week.

    The international community must meet this brutal assault not with diplomatic niceties, but with forceful condemnation and concrete sanctions against the thugs in Rangoon.

    In response to Suu Kyi's arrest and the murder of Burmese democracy activists, the administration should immediately—right now—expand the visa ban against the SPDC to include past and present leadership of both the Council and the USDA. SPDC and USDA assets should be identified in the United States and frozen right now.

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it is time to draw the sword for freedom and cast away the scabbard.

    Mr. President, I am going to continue to closely follow developments in Burma. I will have more to say on this matter tomorrow and later in the week.

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