09/22/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – U.S Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Greg Meeks (D-NY) are planning to introduce legislation sanctioning Myanmar’s oil and gas industries and pushing State Department to determine whether the Burmese military committed genocide against the Rohingya minority. Member offices are currently going back and forth on how to shape the sanctions, a Hill staffer familiar with the matter told ICC.
Congressman Meeks chairs the House Foreign Affairs committee, making him an ideal candidate to push the foreign policy-related bill through the House. Senator Cardin plans to introduce a companion version in the Senate. He sits on the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee.
The Burmese military, or Tatmadaw, seized control of the country in February overthrowing a democratically elected civilian government led by Nobel Prize winning Aung San Suu Kyi.
To date, the Tatmadaw has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the coup and imprisoned over 7,000 more. Of this latter number, nearly 6,000 are still being detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group.
The Tatmadaw arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, during the coup, but many members of her deposed government escaped and have re-grouped under the NUG banner where they are currently working to create a pro-democracy movement powerful enough to sweep the Tatmadaw from power and restore the country to democracy.
The Tatmadaw has a long history of violence against the people of Myanmar, including against Christian and Muslim religious minorities. ICC recently published a report detailing several of these minority groups and proposing actions that the international community can take to push back against the Tatmadaw.
Several rounds of sanctions, coordinated by governments around the world earlier this year, may have made some difference. Still, the Tatmadaw has already been heavily sanctioned for years for human rights abuses stretching back decades. Earlier this year, it even mocked the new layers of sanctions, calling them ineffective and suggesting that the new sanctions were more symbolic than effective. In this, the Tatmadaw may have been correct, especially given the continued economic and military support it continues to receive from Russia and China.
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