4/25/08

Victory: You Made History!

Senate Votes to Award Aung San Suu Kyi Congressional Gold Medal

" Dear Friends,

You did it! After thousands of supporters urged their Senators to support this effort, the US Senate voted unamimously today to award Aung San Suu Kyi the nation's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. [The US House of Reps. has already voted 400-0]. Aung San Suu Kyi will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

This is a historic vote because Aung San Suu Kyi is the first person in the 232-year history of the award to be granted the honor while imprisoned. And hopefully, with the vast international attention from this award, increased pressure will expedite her release.

By being awarded this honor, Aung San Suu Kyi joins the ranks of many great people in history including George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, and Mother Theresa.

The Burmese military generals have tried to isolate Aung San Suu Kyi from her own people and from the international community by keeping her under house arrest for over 12 years. However, the generals, who control around 400,000 soldiers, are losing a battle with a single, unarmed woman. Her only tools are courage and loving kindness, yet she has captured the hearts and loyalty of the people of Burma.

Congress usually only gives one or two awards per year, and sparingly to people in other countries. In the entire history of the award (George Washington was granted the first award), only 30 people from other countries have been granted the award.

In a world in which public heroes are few and far between, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the greatest people of our time; she richly deserves this award, an award we hope will show the people of Burma they are not alone in their struggle.

Many special thanks go to Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who conceptualized and launched this effort along with Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL). In the US Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spearheaded, led, and worked very hard to award Aung San Suu Kyi this honor.

Thank you again for supporting the US Campaign for Burma and for all the help in shedding light on Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for human rights and democracy in Burma!"

from US Campaign for Burma

Labels: , ,

12/20/07

BIDEN Bill to Promote Democracy in Burma Passes Senate

Dear all,

We are very pleased to report that one of our major projects -- ending the US bankrolling of Burma's military regime -- took a major step forwardtoday. We were able to get the US Congress to follow the European Union in banning the import of gems and timber from Burma. This is important because it is the main way the military regime gets money. They simply sell off the country's natural resources to line their own pockets.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with this effort! Aung San Suu Kyi called for people around the world to stop financing Burma's military regime, and we took a huge step forward today. This wouldn't have been possible without the brave people of Burma standing up for themselves and inspiring world leaders to take firm action. It also wouldn't have happened without thousands of supporters across the United States raising their own voices and helping in every possible way.

Jack and Jeremy

=========================
FOR RELEASE: December 19, 2007

CONTACT: Danielle Borrin 202-224-5042

BIDEN Bill to Promote Democracy in Burma Passes Senate

Washington, DC - Today the Senate unanimously passed Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr.'s (D-DE) Burma Democracy Promotion Act, legislation that promotes the restoration of civilian, democratic rule to the troubled state of Burma. Sen. Biden's legislation, originally cosponsored by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
passed as an amendment to H.R. 3890, replacing the language in the existing House bill. As a result, the House must revote on the amended bill before it can go to the President for his signature.

"The message to the people of Burma today is clear: the United States stands with you as you seek a peaceful, negotiated transition to democratic civilian rule. We will work tirelessly with the international community toward that objective," said Sen. Biden.

The Burma Democracy Promotion Act imposes new financial sanctions and travel restrictions on the leaders of the junta and their associates. In addition, the legislation tightens the economic sanctions Congress imposed in 2003 by outlawing the importation of Burmese gems and timber to the United States. The bill also creates 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.

"Our ultimate objective is to re-integrate Burma into the community of nations. Sanctions without concerted diplomacy are pointless," said Sen. Biden. "It is time for Burma to begin a new day in which all of the people, including Burma's many minority groups, work together to rebuild what nearly 20 years of disastrous military rule have destroyed."

Labels: , , ,