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Chabot, Crowley Introduce Legislation Linking U.S. Military Assistance to Reform in Burma

Washington, January 16, 2014 | comments
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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) on Wednesday introduced the Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2013, H.R. 3889. The bipartisan measure places conditions on U.S. military assistance to the Government of Burma.

Specifically, the legislation prohibits the use of FY2014 Department of Defense funds to assist the Government of Burma until the U.S. Secretary of State certifies Burma has taken steps toward establishing civilian oversight of the armed forces, is addressing human rights abuses by the military, and is terminating military relations with North Korea.

“America’s policy toward Burma has long supported efforts to encourage democratic reform and end the regime’s decades of human rights abuses,” said Chabot. “Over the past two years, we have witnessed unexpected and hopeful changes in that country, and as a result, the U.S. has responded with actions that continue to support the people of Burma in their struggle for political and economic freedoms.”

“However, I am concerned that the Obama Administration has taken a step too far in its policy to normalize relations with Burma by taking actions to directly engage with Burma’s military despite concerns that the military is still a perpetrator of human rights abuses, has a relationship with North Korea, and has not committed to reforms that will ensure civilian oversight of its armed forces,” Chabot continued. “This legislation will ensure that U.S. military assistance is not provided to the Burmese government until Congress receives assurance that both the Burmese government and the military have taken appropriate actions to end human rights abuses and make necessary constitutional reforms. It is needed to ensure U.S. efforts to help the people of Burma succeed and that political and economic reforms in that country continue.”

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