Children stand outside an entrance to a camp for families that have been forced to flee their homes because of attacks by the Burmese army.

In a “grossly irresponsible” move, President Obama announced on July 11 that the U.S. government would be removing an investment ban on Burma. The latest action means that nearly all the sanctions mandated by the executive branch (some of which have been in place for over 20 years) have been lifted in the past 2 months.

The removal of U.S. sanctions comes despite repeated warnings by human rights and investor groups that the action is premature, and requests by Burmese civil society groups that sanctions be maintained. Unfortunately, as United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews stated, “instead of listening to Burmese voices, the interests of industry lobbyists clamoring for access to Burma’s rich natural resources have been prioritized.”

As disappointing as Obama’s action is, there’s an immediate opportunity to ensure that the last thread of economic sanctions are maintained: a congressionally-mandated ban on Burmese imports. However, these sanctions will expire at the end of July unless Congress takes action to renew them. Make your voice heard right now by urging Congress to renew the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. Your elected officials need to hear from you and there’s no time to delay.

Call 1-800-GENOCIDE today. It’s simple and easy.

  • Dial 1-800-436-6243.
  • When prompted, enter your zip code.
  • Next, choose option 1 to speak to your Representative or option 2 to speak to one of your Senators.
  • Tell your elected official: “Please maintain sanctions on Burma by voting for House Bill 5986/Senate Joint Resolution 43.” (Don’t worry if forget what to say. You will be given these talking points again right before being connected directly to the office of your elected official.)

After your phone call, follow-up by sending an email to make sure your message is heard.

Nobel laureate and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked for our help. Suu Kyi said, “more than ever we need our friends to be watchdogs. You have to watch what is going on in Burma.” Now is the time for us to stand with the Burmese people.

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