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Burma & US Congress on November 17,

Subject: Burma & US Congress on November 17, 1995

Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Burma & US Congress on November 17, 1995

FILE hr274.ih
          HRES 274 IH
          104th CONGRESS
          1st Session
          H. RES. 274
          Concerning Burma and the United Nations General Assembly.
                             IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                    November 17, 1995
          Mr. GILMAN (for himself, Mr. BEREUTER, Mr. SMITH  of New Jersey, 
              and Mr. BERMAN) introduced the following resolution; which was
              referred to the Committee on International Relations
          Concerning Burma and the United Nations General Assembly.
          Whereas the military government of Burma, as a member of the United
          Nations, is obligated to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human
          Rights and all other international human rights standards and
          conventions to which it is a signatory;
          Whereas the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
          (hereinafter referred to as the `SLORC') in Burma has refused to
          recognize the results of the May 1990 elections, which the National
          League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won by a landslide;
          Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in March 1995
          unanimously condemned the SLORC's  refusal to `take all necessary
          steps towards democracy in light of those elections';
          Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights also 
          expressed grave concern about violations of fundamental human 
          rights in Burma, including torture, summary and arbitrary
          executions, massive use of forced labor including forced portering
          for the military, abuse of women, political arrests and detentions,
          restrictions on freedom of expression and association, and
          oppressive measures directed at ethnic and religious minorities;
          Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights noted that
          most of the 1990 democratically elected representatives have been
          excluded from the SLORC's `National Convention' and concluded that
          the convention does not `appear to constitute the necessary step
          towards the restoration of democracy,';
          Whereas Burma continues to be one of the world's leading sites of
          narcotics production and trafficking and, according to the United
          States State Department, production of heroin nearly tripled in
          Burma since the SLORC took power in a violent coup in 1988;
          Whereas, according to the State Department's International 
          Narcotics Control Strategy Report of March 1995, the SLORC's
          antinarcotics efforts last year `fell far short of the measures
          necessary to make serious progress against the drug trade,' and in
          addition, the SLORC's lack of control over heroin-producing areas 
          is due to the SLORC's allowing `wide-ranging, local autonomy (to
          ethnic armies) in exchange for halting their active insurgencies
          against Rangoon';
          Whereas the peace agreements signed by the SLORC with ethnic
          insurgencies since 1989 were supposed to lead to both a decrease in
          opium production and economic development, but according to the
          State Department's report, `neither development nor a reduction in
          opium cultivation has occurred';
          Whereas in 1948 when Burma became independent, the annual 
          production of opium was 30 tons, Burma was then a democracy, it
          exported rice to its neighbors and the world, and it enjoyed a
          free-market system;
          Whereas today Burma is one of the poorest nations in the world and
          its opium production has increased some 8,000 percent to about 
          2,575 tons (1992-1993);
          Whereas the drug production increase is the consequence in large
          degree of the inability of the successive military governments in
          Rangoon to come to terms with the country's ethnic minorities and
          the refusal of post-1962 military-dominated regimes to permit an
          open pluralistic society;
          Whereas it is primarily through a democratically elected civilian
          government in Burma, supported by the Burmese people including the
          ethnic minorities, that Burma can make significant progress in
          controlling narcotics production and trafficking;
          Whereas on July 10, 1995, the SLORC responded to international
          pressure, including 5 resolutions by the United Nations General
          Assembly, by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been held under
          house arrest for 6 years;
          Whereas 16 elected Members of Parliament remain in detention in
          Burma, along with thousands of other political prisoners, according
          to Human Rights Watch/Asia, Amnesty International, and other human
          rights monitoring groups;
          Whereas in July 1995 the International Committee of the Red Cross
          (hereinafter referred to as the `ICRC') closed its office in Burma
          due to the SLORC's refusal to agree to allow the ICRC confidential
          regular access to prisoners;
          Whereas the United States ambassador to the United Nations visited
          Burma in September 1995, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, and also met
          with leaders of the SLORC and urged them to `choose the path' of
          `democracy, rather than continued repression and dictatorial
          control,' and declared that `fundamental change in the United 
          States policy towards Burma would depend on fundamental change in
          the SLORC's treatment of the Burmese people; and
          Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma, Professor
          Yozo Yokota, visited the country in October 1995 and will deliver a
          preliminary report of his findings to the current session of the
          United Nations General Assembly: Now, therefore, be it
             [Italic->] Resolved [<-Italic] , That the House of
          Representatives calls on--
                (1) the Burmese Government to immediately begin a political
              dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, other democratic leaders, and
              representatives of the ethnic minorities to release immediately
              and unconditionally detained Members of Parliament and other
              political prisoners, to repeal repressive laws which prohibit
              freedom of association and expression and the right of citizens
              to participate freely in the political life of their country, 
              to resume negotiations with the International Committee of the
              Red Cross on access to prisoners, and help control the massive
              flow of heroin from Burma; and
                (2) the President, the Secretary of State, and the United
              States ambassador to the United Nations to actively support and
              promote a resolution at the upcoming session of the Third
              Committee of the United Nations General Assembly reiterating 
              the grave concerns of the international community and calling 
              on the SLORC to take concrete, significant steps to fulfill its
              obligations to guarantee respect to basic human rights and to
              restore civilian, democratic rule to the people of Burma.

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