Crowley, Chabot Statement on Administration’s Decision to Lift Economic Sanctions on Burma

September 14, 2016
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.)Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH), leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Burma, released the statement below following the announcement that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions on Burma:

“It is great to have Daw Aung San Suu Kyi back in the United States – this time as Burma’s leader. Her visit this week reflects the progress we have seen in Burma, particularly after her landslide victory in the 2015 elections. That election was a clear, unequivocal rejection of military rule in Burma

“While this progress is being met with an announcement that economic sanctions will be lifted, that does not mean that we support the status quo in Burma. We remain very concerned about the military’s extraordinary and inappropriate grip on key institutions of power in Burma – including the fact that it retains the ability to veto constitutional reform through appointment of 25 percent of the seats in the parliament. We are also deeply concerned about the military’s ongoing attacks against ethnic minorities such as the Kachin and Shan.

“The U.S. must continue to pressure Burma’s military to end human rights abuses against the Burmese people and put an end to military interference in politics and government administration. It is not the time to normalize U.S.-Burma military relations,” said Crowley and Chabot.

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 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.

Earlier this year, Crowley and Chabot 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.