Burma: Tom Lantos “Block Burmese Jade Act” has been passed by both chambers of US Congress
An Act calling for strong sanctions against the military junta in the gem trade is applauded as an important step.
The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) acclaims the United States Government for enacting the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 (H.R. 3890). This groundbreaking Act, passed unanimously by both chambers of the United States Congress, and signed today by President Bush, constitutes the strongest sanctions against the Burmese Military Junta to-date by cutting off revenue sources that the Junta uses to terrorize and murder innocent citizens of Burma.
This Act not only eliminates revenue for the Junta by closing loopholes in Burma’s gems trade with the United States, it also urges Chevron, the only United States company with an investment in Burma subsidized by American taxpayers, to voluntarily divest from Burma. The NCUB applauds Congress for its attention to this important issue. While it is regrettable that the Act does not require Chevron to divest from Burma, the NCUB deeply appreciates the United States Congress interest, as expressed in the statute, in the continued physical safety of the human rights victims whom Chevron/Unocal settled with in 2004.
The NCUB expresses tremendous gratitude to the late Representative Tom Lantos for his leadership as the primary author of this Act. The NCUB will always remember Representative Lantos for his uncompromising, influential, and unwavering support of the Burmese people’s non-violent struggle for freedom, democracy, and human rights.
Additionally, the NCUB would like to recognize and thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representative Howard Berman, and Senator Joe Biden for their leadership in championing this Act. Their resolve for and commitment to freedom for the people of Burma enabled the passage of this landmark Act.
The NCUB supports the strongest possible sanctions against the Burmese Military Junta and their corporate enablers as a means of pressuring the Junta to negotiate with democracy leaders and transition to democracy. The NCUB believes that sanctions are an integral part of the international strategy aimed at assisting the non-violent efforts to build a democratic state in Burma.