Crowley, Chabot Introduce Resolution Calling for Human Rights and Democratic Reforms in Burma

March 3, 2016
Press Release

Resolution Commending Burma’s Recent Elections Acknowledges Progress, Urges Additional Steps to Move Burma Forward

(Washington, D.C.)Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH), leaders in the House on Burma, introduced a resolution noting the successes in Burma’s democratic elections after decades of repression and called for additional steps to end ongoing human rights abuses and advance much-needed democratic reforms.

“The recent election in Burma indicates a profound desire for change. But while substantial progress has been made, there is still much more that needs to be done. Too many political prisoners remain locked up, violence against ethnic minorities continues, and there has been a backsliding of progress in some areas when it comes to the democratic reforms that are needed in Burma,” said Rep. Crowley. “Our resolution acknowledges the progress that has been made but makes clear that further steps are needed. We continue to stand with the Burmese people in their struggle for genuine and lasting reconciliation.”

“The people of Burma deserve enormous credit for their ongoing democratic reforms,” said Rep. Chabot, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “While the recent democratic elections were an important step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done in safeguarding the human rights of the Burmese people. Change is never easy and our resolution makes it clear that the United States will continue to encourage and support the people of Burma in their efforts to establish a peaceful and stable democracy.”  

The resolution expresses concern over the state of human rights in Burma, including the government’s incarceration of peaceful activists both before and after the elections. Specifically, the resolution calls on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to focus on holding Burma accountable to the 11 human rights and security commitments made by Burma’s current president Thein Sein, as well as urging the current government to support a peaceful and timely transition of power to the new government.

The resolution also acknowledges Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy for their overall victory in November, as well as other parties for their participation in the elections.

The text of the resolution can be found here.

In 2014, Crowley and Chabot introduced the Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act, legislation that would prevent the United States from providing or expanding military assistance to Burma’s Armed Services until benchmarks on human rights and defense reforms are met by the Burmese military. These benchmarks include free and fair elections, reform of the military-dominated constitution, an end to human rights abuses committed against the Burmese people, and the establishment of civilian oversight of the armed forces.