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US House of Representatives Approves Burma Sanctions Extension

11 July 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the extension of economic sanctions against Burma's military government.

A resolution extending trade sanctions against the ruling military government in Burma was approved by voice vote on Tuesday.

The legislation had no opposition and was moved quickly to the floor of the House, bypassing the usual process of consideration at the congressional committee level.

Under the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act approved by Congress in 2003, sanctions involving a ban on imports from Burma must be renewed each year.

That is something lawmakers have supported, particularly in light of developments such as the Burmese military's extension of the house arrest of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"It is now incumbent on all of us to ensure that the essential component [of sanctions] remains in place until this murderous regime yields to the desire of its citizens to be free. To back down now would send the wrong message to the military regime in Burma, as well as the international community. Most importantly it would send the wrong message to those pro-democracy advocates within Burma fighting for the freedom of their fellow citizens," said Republican Congressman Clay Shaw spoke on the floor of the House.

Democratic Congressman Benjamin Cardin joined in supporting the resolution. "The western world and those who are concerned about human rights are united. Burma cannot be allowed to continue its oppressive actions," he said.

In addition to the continuing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, lawmakers supporting the sanctions renewal point to ongoing Burmese military attacks on ethnic minorities sited in the State Department's annual human rights report.

An identical resolution is still pending in the Senate, introduced earlier this year by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

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