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US Senate approves tougher sanctions against Myanmar

[JURIST] The US Senate passed the Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007 [HR 3890 materials] Wednesday, a bill that would impose new economic sanctions and travel restrictions on leaders from Myanmar [JURIST news archive]. The bill is intended to push the military government to restore democratic rule. US Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), one of the sponsors of the Senate version of the sanctions bill, praised the passage of the legislation [press release], which he described:

The Burma Democracy Promotion Act imposes new financial sanctions and travel restrictions on the leaders of the junta and their associates. In addition, the legislation tightens the economic sanctions Congress imposed in 2003 by outlawing the importation of Burmese gems and timber to the United States. The bill also creates a new position of Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma. The Special Representative will work with Burma's neighbors and other interested countries, including the members of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to develop a comprehensive approach to the problem, including pressure, dialogue, and support for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian relief to the Burmese people.
The House has already passed a version of the bill but must still approve minor differences with the Senate-passed version. US President George W. Bush has indicated that he will sign the bill.

The UN General Assembly Third Committee passed [JURIST report] a draft resolution [press release] last month condemning the recent crackdown against political dissidents in Myanmar, calling on the country's military government to release all political prisoners. The crackdown started when Myanmar security officers arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrating against rising fuel prices and human rights abuses by the military regime. At least 10 people were killed when government soldiers shot into protesting crowds [JURIST report] and the government has said that some 3,000 people were arrested for participating in the protests. AP has more.

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