Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today after the House yesterday passed amendments to a bill that will tighten sanctions against Burma and ban the importation of Burmese gems. The bill now goes to the Senate.
'The House of Representatives has passed legislation that will strengthen the economic pressure on the regime in Burma as it continues its campaign of repression and violence. This legislation reflects a bipartisan agreement between the House, Senate, and the Bush Administration that will tighten economic sanctions on Burma and ban the importation of Burmese gems. It is estimated that these actions will take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the hands of the government.
'For the last 17 years, the military junta in Burma has accumulated one of the worst human rights records in the world. It has held Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically-elected leader of the National League for the Democracy Party, under house arrest for most of that time. In the wake of the extreme devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, the Burmese people desperately need legitimate leadership.
'In May 2008, President Bush signed a congressional resolution to award the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award which may be bestowed by the United States Congress, to Aung San Suu Kyi in recognition of her courageous and unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, human rights, and democracy in Burma. I look forward to the ceremony honoring her and bringing attention to the situation in Burma.'