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American Citizens Need to Lobby Sen
Subject: American Citizens Need to Lobby Senators on McConnell bill
Dear Burma Activists who are U.S. citizens,
The McConnell bill (the Free Burma Act of 1995) needs support now! If you
haven't written your two U.S. Senators yet, please do so! We are seeking
two things: (1) each U.S. Senator should co-sponsor the legislation, which
is bill # S. 1092 and (2) each U.S. senator should support McConnell when he
seeks to add the Free Burma Act language as an amendment to the Foreign
Operations bill, a larger piece of legislation that will definetly pass the
Senate in some form.
I've written my Senators and wanted to share the draft of my letters.
Please feel free to adapt/use as you see fit -- but let them hear from you
now, in the next week! If you are uncertain who you're Senator is, you can
call your local town hall or send me an e-mail which tells me what state you
The address for all Senators is: Senator _________
Washington, D.C. 20510
Thanks for your commitment and help on this! Cheers, Phil
September 8, 1995
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator _______,
I am writing to request your immediate support for the Free Burma Act of 1995
(S. 1092), a bill to impose economic sanctions on the Burmese military junta
which Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Asia and other major human
rights organization continue to classify as one of the most egregious human
rights abusers in the world today. Specifically, I would urge you to co-
sponsor this important free-standing bill, which was introduced by Senator
McConnell, and also support Senator McConnell when he offers this bill as an
amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill in the third week of
This is a very important matter to me. My personal interest in the fight for
democracy and human rights in Burma is ... (fill in your own interest here)
I have noted the calls of 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi (recently released from six years of illegal
detainment at the hands of the military) for continued international
economic pressure to force the military to negotiate in good faith with her.
So far there has been no indication that the military junta (known as the
State Law and Order Restoration Council, better known as SLORC) is willing
to do so, a fact to which U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East
Asia, Kent Weidemann, testified in the House on September 7th.
In fact, virtually all observers of the Burmese scene, both here in the U.S.
and in Asia, believe that Aung San Suu Kyi's release in July only occurred
because the SLORC thought it would further open possibilities of foreign aid
and investment in the country. The argument that investment will raise the
quality of life is, in Burma, a farce because foreign investment primarily goes
to either SLORC-controlled firms or companies controlled by retired military
men. In fact, SLORC relies heavily on forced labor for infrastructure projects
(a fact which has been repeatedly condemned by the International Labor
Organization), has been dispossessing its citizens of land to make way for
hotel construction in major cities, and presides over an economy which has the
highest inflation rate (over 40%) of any country in Southeast Asia. The
SLORC and its cronies are getting richer and consolidating their hold on power
because of foreign investment at the expense of the majority of Burmese, who
continue to get poorer.
The simple fact remains that the Burmese people continue to overwhelming
support Aung San Suu Kyi as the legitimate leader of Burma (her party, the
National League for Democracy, won 392 of 485 seats in the 1990 elections
which the military arbitrarily disallowed) and she has called for greater
economic pressure against Burma. There are very clear parallels between her
call and that of Nelson Mandela to maintain economic sanctions against South
Africa when he was seeking to push the National Party to allow elections is
entirely appropriate. In fact, fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu
has also spoken in favor of economic sanctions against Burma, in support of
his fellow Laureate's call.
Please take a strong stand and support S. 1092 and the McConnell amendment
to the Foreign Operations bill. Only with significant international pressure
with the military junta in Burma realize that the world is not going to look the
other way, that they need to negotiate seriously with the Burmese democracy
movement, and that their refusal to reinstate the results of the free and fair
1990 elections will not be allowed to stand.
I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue to me.