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Washington, DC – The Senate today approved a measure co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), along with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), to renew sanctions against the Burmese military junta. The resolution includes an import ban on all Burmese goods entering the U.S. and visa restrictions on officials from the military regime. 

“It should come as no surprise that the National League for Democracy, Burma’s democratic opposition party, refused to turn its back on Aung San Suu Kyi or to give its stamp of approval to the ruling regime’s sham constitution and electoral law. This is a clear message to the junta that an illegitimate constitution and election law cannot suppress the unyielding democratic aspirations of the people of Burma. I applaud their courage and their steadfast devotion to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,” Senator Feinstein said

“Now, we must send our own signal to the military junta that its quest for legitimacy has failed.  We must send our own signal to the democratic opposition that we continue to stand in solidarity with them and we will not abandon them. And this measure to renew the import sanctions will send that signal.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that Senator Feinstein, who co-chairs the Senate Women’s Caucus on Burma, has worked with Senator McConnell and others to extend the annual ban on imports from Burma.  The original resolution was introduced by Senators McConnell and Feinstein in 2003, following an assassination attempt on the life of Burma’s democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The McConnell-Feinstein resolution, which was approved by the House of Representatives on July 14, now goes to President Obama for his signature. 

Other Feinstein Efforts to Help Promote Democracy in Burma

In 1997, Senator Feinstein worked with former Senator Bill Cohen to author legislation requiring the President to ban new U.S. investment in Burma if he determined that the Government of Burma had physically harmed, re-arrested or exiled Aung San Suu Kyi or committed large-scale repression or violence against the democratic opposition.  President Clinton issued the Executive Order in 1997 and the ban remains on the books today. 

Senator Feinstein also worked with then-Senator Joseph Biden, Senator McConnell and the late Congressman Tom Lantos to secure passage of the Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts Act of 2008, which placed additional sanctions on the military regime following the crackdown on the Saffron Revolution.