November 3, 2017

Young Helps Introduce New Sanctions Legislation Targeting the Burmese Military

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined Senators John McCain (R-Ariz), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in introducing legislation that would impose targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on senior Burmese military officials responsible for the atrocities and systematic human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Burma.

The legislation would prohibit certain military cooperation with the Burmese military until the Departments of State and Defense can certify that officials have halted the violence. The bill would also support economic and security sector reform, and encourage Burma’s successful transition of power to a civilian government. 

The legislation comes on the heels of a Young-led bipartisan letter sent to Nikki Haley urging immediate and bold action to bring an end to violence against the Rohingya minority in Burma. 

“The horrific situation in Burma requires American leadership and engagement to halt the ethnic cleansing, hold perpetrators accountable, and demand humanitarian access,” said Senator Young. “This bill represents an important step toward achieving those goals.”

“The systematic human rights abuses being committed against the Rohingya people in Burma demand a strong response from the United States and the international community,” said Senator McCain. “More than 600,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes, hundreds of villages have been burned, and scores of civilians have been killed in a campaign of violence that the United Nations has called a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’ Our legislation would hold accountable the senior military officials responsible for the slaughter and displacement of innocent men, women and children in Burma, and make clear that the United States will not stand for these atrocities.”  

“‘Never Again’ is happening again in Burma, where the military are committing ethnic cleansing and perpetrating atrocities against the Rohingya minority,” said Senator Cardin. “This full-blown humanitarian crisis is happening under the watch of the international community, and this bill will allow Congress to strengthen the President’s hand by making it clear to Burmese officials that there will be consequences for their crimes against humanity.” 

Specifically, the Senate legislation would: 

  • State the U.S. policy of calibrated engagement, which supports a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Burma that respects human rights of all of its people regardless of ethnicity and religion.
  • Authorize humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya, including refugees in Bangladesh, the region and implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission.
  • Instruct Treasury to only vote for international financial assistance projects that do not partner with the Burmese military owned enterprise.
  • Express the Sense of Congress calling on the Burmese government to ensure the right of returnees and to fully implement all of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission.
  • Codify U.S.-Burma military to military cooperation restrictions.
  • Reimpose the U.S. jade and rubies ban and require a report on Burma GSP privileges.
  • Require a report on which individuals should be placed on visa bans and on the SDN list for senior Burmese military officials.
  • Require a report on promoting inclusive and responsible economic growth and development in Burma.
  • Require a report on accountability for ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide in Burma, a feasibility and desirability study of potential transitional justice mechanisms for Burma, and authorize technical assistance for i