October 5, 2021, Washington, DC–Today, EarthRights International urged Congress to quickly pass the BURMA Act of 2021 which was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The bill calls on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on the Burmese (Myanmar) military and its cronies, which seized power in a coup last February. Since taking over the country, the military has led a brutal campaign of repression against opponents, including denying them access to COVID-19 treatment. The regime has been propped up by natural gas revenues generated by US-based Chevron, Total, and other foreign companies.
“Congress has delivered a message that the Biden administration needs to take stronger action against the brutal military regime in Myanmar. This includes cutting off gas revenues immediately,” said Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director of EarthRights and a Burmese human rights activist. “Passage of this bill will make clear that Congress expects the Biden administration to do much more than it has.”
The people of Myanmar have responded to the coup with a nationwide civil disobedience movement, designed to cut off the military’s sources of revenue. Burmese democracy activists have expressed a strong desire not to return to life under an unthinkably brutal military regime. They have asked the international community for help, but key calls have not been answered. Instead, governments have stood behind the fossil fuel industry, including Chevron and Total, which have lobbied against strong sanctions and continued to fund the military coup leaders.
Kate Fried, EarthRights International