On July 26, the Senate, by voice vote, approved a resolution (H.J. Res. 86) to extend import restrictions on Burma for one year. The House approved the resolution on July 11 (see The Source, 7/14/06). The President is expected to sign the measure into law.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said, “The human rights situation in Burma is deplorable and demands a clear, unified response from the international community: 1,300 political prisoners are still in jail; according to a report by the Asian human rights group, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 127 democracy activists have been tortured to death since 1988; 70,000 child soldiers have been forcibly recruited; the practice of rape as a form of repression has been sanctioned by the Burmese military; use of forced labor is widespread; human trafficking is rampant; and the government engages in the production and distribution of opium and methamphetamine.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) further described the atrocities, saying, “As we renew these sanctions, the situation inside Burma continues to worsen still. The military junta in that country controls the population through a campaign of violence and terror, and the lack of freedom and justice there is simply appalling. The Burmese regime has murdered political opponents, used child soldiers and forced labor, and employed rape as a weapon of war. Political activists remain imprisoned, including elected members of parliament. And that courageous woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent yet another year in captivity. Aung San Suu Kyi’s resolve in the face of tyranny inspires me and, I believe, every individual who holds democracy dear. Because she stands for freedom, this heroic woman has endured attacks, arrest, captivity, and untold suffering at the hands of the regime.”