Dec 20 2013
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), joined by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), today introduced The Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2013, a bipartisan measure that would prohibit U.S. military aid to Burma, except in cases of basic training on human rights and civilian control of the military. The bill offers no waivers and would lift the prohibition only if Burma takes concrete actions to measurably improve human rights conditions, including: establishing civilian oversight of the armed forces, addressing human rights violations by their military and terminating military relations with North Korea. The amendment would also request an annual report on the Administration’s strategy to engage the Burmese military.
“For over twenty years, the United States has supported the democratic struggle of the people of Burma, and I believe we should do everything we can to support and strengthen the reform process underway in that country,” said Senator Rubio. “But while the Obama administration has continued to normalize relations, I am concerned about long overdue political and military reforms that are yet to be taken. With this bill, we can ensure that U.S. military assistance is not provided to the Burmese government until meaningful accountability reforms are taken, including the fair and equal treatment of all ethnic groups, addressing human rights abuses committed by the military, and cutting off military relations with North Korea. Until then, this bill would ensure that U.S. military engagement with Burma is strictly limited to promoting respect for human rights and civilian control of the military. With clear expectations and consequences, we can better succeed in our efforts to help the people of Burma in their struggle for political and economic freedom.”
The bill’s co-sponsors include Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Bob Corker (R-TN).
A PDF of the draft legislation is available here.