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Burma & U.S. Congress on December 1

Subject: Burma & U.S. Congress on December 13, 1994 (Hon. Richardson)

                           HUMAN RIGHTS 

                  HON. BILL RICHARDSON
              in the House of Representatives

            WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1995

Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I want to submit for the Record 
Ambassador Madeleine Albright's remarks on the human rights situation in 
Burma to the U.N. General Assembly Third Committee. I join Ambassador 
Albright's endorsement of the U.N. resolution to urge the Government of 
Burma to cease its violations of internationally recognized human rights.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend Ambassador Albright for 
her tremendous work on this issue. I encourage all Members to support the 
work of our U.N. Representative as she relentlessly pursues the cause of 
Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Ambassador Albright had a 
great meeting in Burma this fall Aung San Suu Kyi.

Recent developments in Burma have given us cause for great concern. It is 
imperative that the governing State Law and Order Restoration Council 
understand that the United States and the international community will not 
tolerate threats or actions that suppress the advancement of the democratic 
movement in Burma .

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to discuss my Government's 
decision to join consensus on the resolution concerning the human rights 
situation in Burma , despite some reservations that prevented us from 

The resolution reflects a tremendous effort by the Swedish mission to develop
strong consensus text, and my government endorses strongly the purposes and 
recommendations contained in that text,. 

We join with the other members of this Assembly in urging the Burmese 
Government to cease its violations of internationally recognized human
And we urge the government to begin a substantive political dialogue with
San Suu Kyi, other democratic leaders and representatives of ethnic groups 
concerning the future of the country. These recommendations are at the heart 
of the Assembly resolution, and we believe the Government of Burma should 
respond favorably to them. 

The Unites States was not able to cosponsor the resolution because of three 
issues that we believe could have been dealt with more precisely or urgently.

First, we would have tempered the language in paragraph 17, which welcomes 
the cessation of hostilities between the Government of Burma and various 
ethnic groups, because the Burmese Army has not fully honored those 

Second, we believe the resolution should have included language similar to
adopted by the UN Human Rights Commission last spring, encouraging the 
Secretary-General to hold discussions with the Burmese Government for the 
purpose of stimulating progress towards democratization and national 

Third, we believe specific mention should have been made of the International

Labor Organization's decision last June to condemn Burma 's continued use of 
forced labor and forced porterage, especially of members of ethnic
for military and civilian infrastructure projects. The ILO recommends, and my

government strongly agrees, that Burma should bring both its laws and its 
practices into compliance with internationally recognized standards of

Finally, we believe that more specific and urgent attention should have been 
given in the resolution to important events that occurred in Rangoon near the

end of last month. I refer, of course, to the withdrawal and subsequent 
expulsion from the National Convention of delegates from the National League 
for Democracy. 

The governing State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, has asked 
the world to view the Convention as a representative mechanism for drafting a

new constitution and facilitating a transition to democracy. Clearly, it is
not that 
if the National League for Democracy, which received 60 percent of the votes 
in the 1990 election, is not free to participate openly, freely and without
fear of 
intimidation. We must remember that the SLORC handpicked all the delegates, 
greatly under-representing those from the democratic movement. 

Following the release from detention last July of Aung San Suu Kyi, there
hopes that the National Convention would, in fact, become a meaningful forum 
for discussion about Burma 's future. Instead, the Government has maintained 
its habit of rigid control, and the few representatives of the democratic 
movement and of the various ethnic groups have been prohibited from voicing 
dissenting views. 

The SLORC has said that its goals for Burma include economic prosperity and 
multiparty democracy. Burma 's democratic leaders share those goals. The 
General Assembly should continue to express strong and unyielding support for

actions that would close the great divide that now exists between what the 
SLORC professes to want and what it has thus far been prepared to do. 

In this connection, my Government also wants to express its very great
about recent statements from Rangoon that brand Aung San Suu Kyi and her 
supporters as `traitors' and speak of `annihilating' those who criticize the 
National Convention. The SLORC should have no doubt that it will be held 
responsible for any actions that result in physical harm or unjust punishment

against those who have simply engaged in the peaceful exercise of 
internationally recognized rights. 

In closing, Mr. President, let me once again congratulate the Swedish mission

for its leadership on this resolution. Let me re-state my Government's strong

endorsement of its core recommendations in support of human rights and a 
substantive political dialogue. And let me re-emphasize my Government's 
concern about recent events and its hope that the Government of Burma will 
reconsider its policies and begin now to move down a democratic path. 

---------------------------------end. (fb.121395.usc)