WASHINGTON – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution Thursday authored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that condemns the military coup in Burma and calls for a return to democratic governance and respect for civil liberties.The resolution makes clear that the Burmese military must be held accountable for engaging in mass atrocities, including detaining more than 10,000 people for the crime of expressing basic freedoms, and the killings of nearly 3,000 civilians. The situation in Burma remains dire as millions need humanitarian aid and continue to be displaced from their homes due to violence and instability.
“Our resolution reaffirms the United States’ solidarity with the Burmese people in their quest for sustainable peace and democracy. We remain committed to free and fair elections in Burma and the peaceful and expedient transition to a civilian-led government,” said Senator Cardin. “The United States and the international community must hold human rights violators accountable for their actions. The suffering of the Burmese people at the hands of their own military must come to an end.”
“This bipartisan resolution expresses solidarity with the Burmese people’s aspirations to rule themselves rather than be ruled by force. Indiana is home to one of the largest communities of Burmese refugees in the United States, and I am proud to stand with the people of Burma as they seek a return to democratic governance,” said Senator Young.
“It has been two years since the Burma military regime threw out the results of free and fair elections that would have returned a civilian-led, democratically elected government to power,” said Senator Merkley. “Committee passage of our bipartisan resolution reaffirms America’s solidarity with and commitment to the people of Burma, and that atrocities like these will not be allowed to go unnoticed, no matter where they occur in the world.”
“For two years, the junta in Burma has brutally suppressed democracy and committed a number of egregious human rights violations against the Burmese people,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan resolution makes clear the United States not only stands with the people of Burma in their quest towards democracy but remains committed to holding the Burmese military accountable for its unconscionable actions.”
Last year, Congress approved the “Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act” (BURMA Act) led by Senator Cardin. Broadly supported in both the Senate and House, this measure encourages the administration to do more at the United Nations to hold the Burmese military accountable for its actions, promotes democracy, and imposes targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses. It also supports reporting on accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya in Burma.
Cardin, Young and Merkley are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.