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DRAFT LETTER To LOBBY SENATORS
Dear Friends of Burma,
Now is the time to write your Senator and tell him or her that you want them
to support the McConnell bill for sanctions on Burma! We have to get this
bill moving, get some momentum behind it, and get it passed. If you haven't
written both of your Senators, please stop, take 10 minutes and adapt this
letter as you see fit and send it! 10 minutes and 64 cents, and you will
feel great! It's the grassroots pressure that is going to win this fight in
Washington, D.C., that's the thing that sets this movement apart from
others. Please make your contribution now, every letter counts! And
remember, when you receive a reply back from your Senators, make a copy and
send it to U Soe Pyne, NCGUB, 815 15th Street, N.W., Suite 910, Washington,
D.C. 20005. That way we can check to see that what your Senator is telling
you is what he's really doing!
Thanks again for your support -- keep pushing and we'll win!
Cheers, Phil Robertson
Thanks also to Simon Billenness, whose draft was helpful in putting together
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator ______,
I write to inform you of my very wholehearted support for bill S. 1511, the
Burma Freedom and Democracy Act of 1995. I strongly urge you to become a
co-sponsor of this important legislation and support its passage in committee
and when it comes to the floor of the Senate. This bi-partisan bill,
co-sponsored by Senators McConnell, Moynihan, D'Amato and Leahy, seeks to
impose economic sanctions on the military junta of Burma.
As you may know, after brutally crushing peaceful pro-democracy
demonstrations in 1988 and killing an estimated 3000 protesters in the capital
city of Rangoon alone in the process, the Burmese military junta formed the
State Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC). The SLORC regime
continues to be rated as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world by
highly reputable human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch/Asia.
Since 1988, despite condemnation by the world community and annual United
Nations General Assembly urging respect for human rights and seeking a
negotiated transition to democratic rule, the SLORC has refused to loosen its
grip on power. In 1990, the SLORC held elections (which were judged free
and fair by the international community) in the belief that it was popular
enough to win. When the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won over 80% of the seats, it decided
to annul the election and then harass and imprison elected Members of
Parliament from the NLD and allied parties and their supporters in an effort
destroy the democratic forces through violence and intimidation.
Although the SLORC released Aung San Suu Kyi from six years of house arrest
in 1995, she has repeatedly stated in press interviews that nothing else has
changed in Burma and that foreign investors should stay away. In this call,
she echoes the voice of Nelson Mandela and the ANC when they were
struggling against apartheid. Despite repeated calls by Aung San Suu Kyi for
dialogue, the SLORC has refused even to meet with her and other leaders of
the democracy movement. Meanwhile, the SLORC continues to crack down on
pro-democracy activists; refuses to allow the Red Cross access to political
prisoners despite pledges to Congressman Bill Richardson to do so. According
to both the International Labor Organization and the UN's Special Rapporteur
on Human Right in Burma, Prof. Yozo Yokota, SLORC regularly uses forced
labor for infrastructure projects.
Last year, three American cities -- Berkeley (CA), Madison (WI) and Santa
Monica (CA) -- voted to boycott companies that do business in Burma.
Similar legislation has also passed the Massachusetts lower house and has
been introduced in the New York City Council.
Just as we Americans supported Nelson Mandela's call for economic sanctions
against the apartheid regime in South Africa, we should respect Aung San Suu
Kyi's request that corporations not invest in Burma at this time. Passage
of the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act of 1995 (S. 1511) would send a clear
to the SLORC that the United States supports the Burmese democracy
I hope that you will step forward and join with the bi-partisan coalition of
Senators behind this effort and immediately co-sponsor the Burma Freedom and
Democracy Act of 1995. I look forward to hearing from you soon on this
important issue to me.
With best wishes,