*Update 4/6/22: The U.S. House of Representatives has now passed the BURMA Act, moving this legislation one step closer to aligning U.S. foreign policy with human rights activists in Burma. But more pressure is needed to get this urgently-needed bill through the Senate. Help us urge your senators to act now!
Today marks one year since the Burmese military overthrew the elected government of Burma, declaring all-out war on the democratic aspirations of the country’s people. In the year since, this illegitimate junta has killed more than 1,503 civilians, including 50 children, and detained upwards of 8,800 peaceful demonstrators when they tried to resist the military’s unjust rule. On Christmas Eve 2021, the Burmese junta arrested, tortured, and burned alive 35 Karenni civilians in the ethnic Karenni state. In the last year, they have carried out 7,686 attacks on civilians including airstrikes and newly displaced 329,000 people from their homes—a 715% increase in attacks on civilians since the junta took power.
As horrific as these events are, they are not unprecedented. The Burmese military terrorized the country for decades, committing genocide and war crimes against the country’s ethnic and religious minorities. UUSC’s partners had long warned that by failing to hold the military accountable for these earlier crimes, the global community was enabling future atrocities. The February coup bore out these warnings in the worst way.
Current U.S. leadership has made strides to correct these past mistakes, but more is needed. A bill introduced in the 117th Congress, the BURMA Act of 2021, would bring U.S. policy into greater alignment with the Burmese people’s struggle for genuine and inclusive democracy. Help us call on our legislators today to co-sponsor this urgently-needed legislation.
Your voice makes a difference! While the bill has now passed in the House, we need more support from senators to pass the BURMA Act into law.
Start by entering your information below so that we can match you with the correct district. When you hit “submit” you’ll be taken to draft letters for each of your members of Congress which you can personalize before sending.
Photo Credit: iStock — Somrerk Kosolwitthayanant