Deputy Assistant Joe Yun Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs today said the United States maintain extensive, targeted sanctions against Burmese regime. Sanctions also targeted against senior leaders of the Burmese government and military, their immediate family members, their key supporters, and others who abuse human rights.
Mr. Joe Yun also provided an overview on the Obama Administration’s efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Burma and on key recent developments in Burma including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, the 2010 elections, and the formation of a government headed by former top regime general and now President Thein Sein.
According to Mr. Joe Yun, the United States is currently pursuing parallel and complementary tracks in a full-scale effort to advance progress on core concerns of the United States and the international community, including the unconditional release of all political prisoners, respect for human rights, and an inclusive dialogue with the political opposition and ethnic groups that would lead to national reconciliation.
He also urged the Government of Burma to respect its international obligations, including adherence to all UN Security Council resolutions on nonproliferation.
“We play a leading role in the international community in shining a light on the regime’s dismal human rights record and signaling to Burmese authorities that the world is watching. We support an annual resolution at the UN General Assembly on Burma that draws attention to human rights abuses and calls for cooperation with the international community to achieve concrete progress with regard to human rights, fundamental freedoms and political processes.”-Mr. Joe Yun
Mr. Joe Yun reiterated that the United States continues to call upon the Burmese government to fully cooperate with Mr. Quintana, including by allowing him to visit the country again, which authorities are refusing.
According to Mr. Joe Yun, coupled with the international pressure, the United States works closely with its key allies such as the European Union (EU) and its member states, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian nations and others to encourage them to impose sanctions and to press the regime to make meaningful changes.
He said the United States was pleased that in April 2011, the EU renewed its Common Position on Burma, which authorizes EU sanctions on key regime officials. He further stressed that the U.S. sanctions are based on a series of executive orders and key legislation passed over the past 20 years.
“Successive Administrations have cooperated closely with Congress to ensure that these restrictions, whether economic, financial or travel related, have the same purpose: that the United States will not allow the use of its resources to perpetuate abusive, authoritarian rule.”Mr. Joe Yun
Mr. Joe Yun further pointed out that the Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 is the most recent piece of Burma-specific legislation and it constitutes an important component of the U.S. sanctions regime. He said there are several key aspects of the JADE Act, which is more than a ban on Burmese jade. The policy focuses on stopping anti-democratic activities in addition to preventing the regime from profiting from trade in precious gems.
Mr. Joe Yun stressed that the JADE Act includes provisions for financial sanctions and bans the issuance of visas for travel to the United States by former and present leaders of the regime, officials involved in the repression of human rights, other key supporters of the regime, and their immediate family members.