Friday, November 16, 2007

US Citizens, Help get the Block Burmese JADE and the Burmese Democracy Promotion Acts Passed


US Citizens, please help get the Block Burmese JADE (Junta Anti-Democratic Efforts)Act and the Burmese Democracy Promotion Act passed. Put the pressure on your Representatives and Senators for the toughest US Sanctions against Burma yet. These Acts would stop allowing the junta to launder funds, gems, timber, and other products in third countries before they are sold.

from the US Campaign for Burma:

Call Your Representative and Senators!
Make Sure the US is not bankrolling the Burmese Regime's Brutal Actions

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Lantos has introduced the "Block Burmese JADE (Junta Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act" and in the Senate, Senators Biden and McConnell have introduced the "Burmese Democracy Promotion Act". Both of these will tighten sanctions on Burma's military regime and really hit the generals where it hurts. Call in today to demand that your Representative and Senator co-sponsor. Find your Representative's info at and find your Senators' by going to Call today and call everyday until you get an answer! Find out more information on the resolutions and what you should do- Click Here to Take Action

The Burmese Democracy Promotion Act of 2007 (Senate) and the Block Burmese JADE (Junti Anti Democratic Efforts) has the power to force the regime to negotiate with Burma's democracy leaders and Ethnic nationalities. We must show the people of Burma that the U.S. is taking action to support their calls for freedom, democracy and human rights. Call your Senator today asking him/her to support the Burmese Democracy Promotion Act! Organize your community to call in as well. Contact details for your Senators are given below.

What the Acts Do:

The regime makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year off the sale of gems and timber. More than 90 percent of the world's rubies and fine-quality jade comes from Burma. The new sanctions will crack down on the regime's practice of avoiding U.S. sanctions by laundering gemstones and other products, especially timber, through third countries before they are sold.

This Act also freezes the assets of Burmese political and military leaders, prevents Burma from using U.S. financial institutions via third countries to launder the funds of those leaders or their immediate families, and prohibits Burmese officials involved in the violent suppression of protesters from receiving visas to the United States.

Burma also uses third countries to access the U.S. banking system. These overseas banks process accounts in and through the United States for Burma's rulers, providing the regime with much-needed hard currency. The regime uses these funds to purchase weapons and luxury goods, while the bulk of Burma's population lives in poverty.

Biden and McConnell's legislation tightens existing sanctions to prevent Burma's military rulers from profiting from sales to the United States, and blocks access to the U.S. financial system not just for Burmese human rights violators but also to those who provide the regime with banking services.

The bill also creates a new position of Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma. The Special Representative will work with Burma's neighbors and other interested countries, including the members of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to develop a comprehensive approach to the problem, including sanctions, dialogue, and support for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian relief to the Burmese people.

These Acts, if passed, would be the strongest action yet that the U.S. takes to pressure Burma's military regime to negotiate with Burma's democracy leaders and ethnic nationalities.

To read the legislation:

House : Block Burmese JADE (Junta Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act

Senate: Burmese Democracy Promotion Act

Contact information:

Call your Senators/ Representative's offices and ask to speak with their foreign policy staffer. If s/he is not there leave a message and ask her/him to call you back. Call today and every day until you get an answer!

Find Your Representative:

Find Your Senator:

Senate: To add their name as a cosponsor: Let them know that to co-sponsor (Burmese Democracy Promotion Act of 2007 - S.2257)Democrats should contact Frank Jannuzi at the Committee on Foreign Relations at 202-224-4651

Republicans should contact Reb Brownell in Senator McConnell's office at 202-224-2541

House: To add their name as a co-sponsor:
Let them know that to co-sponsor they should contact Eric Richardson at the Committee on Foreign Affairs office at or 225-5021.

Talking Points for Staffer:
- Tell the staffer you want your Senator to co-sponsor the Burmese Democracy Promotion Act of 2007

- Give her/him proof that this policy works. It cuts off hundreds of millions of dollars to the regime and will specifically target the top generals' finances.

- Mention that the military junta still deserves sanctions. On top of brutally crushing thousands of peaceful demonstrators, including monks, the military regime has destroyed more than 3,000 villages. It has forcibly displaced more than half a million people inside Burma as well as causing a million refugees to flee across the border to neighboring countries and has made no efforts to move toward democracy.

- Let her/him know it is important to send a strong signal to the regime that the US government will continue to keep American money out the hands of the junta.

- This is not the only action being taken against Burma. On top of many diplomatic efforts, the EU has imposed new sanctions, as well as Australia, and even Japan has decreased aid to Burma.

- Finally ask the staffer to call you back when your Senator has co-sponsored the Burmese Democracy Promotion Act. Important: Leave your phone number!
Let him/her know that his/her constituents care about Burma!

Check up to see if they cosponsor:
It's easy to check and see if they follow through and agree to cosponsor. THOMAS, the Library of Congress' congressional records database updates a list of all information on legislation. Click HERE to find out who has signed as cosponsors in the House, and Click HERE to see who has signed as cosponsors in the Senate.

Please let me know when you have contacted your Senator and how it went - These new sanctions will hit the regime where it hurts.