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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

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Submitted by David Mukwekwezeke at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2011
I have always been and will always be a staunch critic of sanctions to address human rights issues. The proponents of such measures justify it as being "directed" at only a "few individuals" but that is far from the truth. The truth is these sanctions affect the very same people we will be trying to save. The sanctions somehow extend from the financial and banking pond into the economic ocean. I have been a victim of such sanctions, by extension. Western countries have used exactly the same tactics on my country (Zimbabwe) but that has only resulted in devastating effects on the entire country. I think it is high time we move away from these strategies because they do more harm than good. I am sure there are much better ways to handle human rights abusers than to incite anger in the abused in order for them fight for their own rights.