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PHR Calls on Obama Administration to Press for a Commission of Inquiry in Burma

Andrea Gittleman, JD on July 7, 2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) joined more than 20 other organizations in calling on President Obama to commit his Administration to enacting financial and banking sanctions and to pressing for an international Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes in Burma. The letter, sent today, urges the President to use all the tools at his disposal to stem the ongoing human rights violations in Burma. The Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, for example, includes banking and financial sanctions that have so far have not been fully implemented. Enacting these sanctions would target specific leaders of Burma’s regime and their cronies as well as the banks that hold the government’s currency reserves. One effect of implementing these necessary tools would be the regime’s weakened ability to continue its campaigns of violence against ethnic minorities. 

The letter also stressed the importance of the United States making a fervent effort to establish an international Commission of Inquiry. PHR’s recent report on crimes against humanity in Chin State stressed the need for such an investigation, which has been recommended by United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana and is supported by Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Given the recent escalation in violence against minority groups, an investigation is needed now more than ever. PHR will continue to press the Administration for these important steps to end human rights violations in Burma.

Places: Burma