Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tell Congressmen to Freeze the Assests of the Burmese Military Junta

What the Act Does:
The regime makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year off thesale of gems. More than 90 percent of the world's rubies andfine-quality (Imperial) jade comes from Burma. The new sanctions willcrack down on the regime's practice of avoiding U.S. sanctions bylaundering gemstones through third countries before they are sold.
This Act also freezes the assets of Burmese political and militaryleaders, prevents Burma from using U.S. financial institutions viathird countries to launder the funds of those leaders or theirimmediate families, and prohibits Burmese officials involved in theviolent suppression of protesters from receiving visas to the UnitedStates.
"This legislation will turn off a huge cash spigot for the thuggishBurmese regime," Lantos said. "If my colleagues come together and actquickly to pass these new sanctions, we can put an end to huge profitsfor the junta and its unscrupulous middle-men. We must ensure that thesale of some of the Earth's most beautiful natural resources does notcontinue to enable the horrors inflicted upon the people of Burma."
Burma also uses third countries to access the U.S. banking system.These overseas banks process accounts in and through the United Statesfor Burma's rulers, providing the regime with much-needed hardcurrency. The regime uses these funds to purchase weapons and luxurygoods, while the bulk of Burma's population lives in poverty.
Lantos' legislation tightens existing sanctions to prevent Burma'smilitary rulers from profiting from sales to the United States, andblocks access to the U.S. financial system not just for Burmese humanrights violators but also to those who provide the regime with bankingservices.
The Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007,if passed, would be the strongest action yet that the U.S. takes topressure Burma's military regime to negotiate with Burma's democracyleaders and ethnic nationalities.
What to do:
As constituents, it is only your voice that will inspire yourrepresentative to co-sponsor this bill, better enabling it to pass inCongress. If you do not know, to find out whom your individualrepresentative is go to www.house.gov and type in your zipcode in the"Find your representative" box in the top left corner of the screen.
Once you know whom your representative is - use the list below tocontact your representative's Foreign Affairs staffer (the numbers foreach one for every office are at the bottom of this email). If s/he isnot there leave a message and ask her/him to call you back. Call todayand call every day until you get an answer!
Below is a series of talking points that can guide your conversation,as well as the information the staff will need to become a co-sponsorof the Bill.
Talking Points for Staffer:- Tell the staffer you want your representative to co-sponsor theBlock Burmese JADE Act of 2007- Give her/him proof that this policy works. It cuts off hundreds ofmillions of dollars to the regime and will specifically target the topgenerals' finances.- Mention that the military junta still deserves sanctions. On top ofbrutally crushing thousands of peaceful demonstrators, includingmonks, the military regime has destroyed more than 3,000 villages. Ithas forcibly displaced more than half a million people inside Burma aswell as causing a million refugees to flee across the border toneighboring countries and has made no efforts to move towarddemocracy.- Let her/him know it is important to send a strong signal to theregime that the US government will continue to keep American money outthe hands of the junta.- This is not the only action being taken against Burma. On top ofmany diplomatic efforts, the EU has imposed new sanctions, as well asAustralia, and even Japan has decreased aid to Burma.- Finally ask the staffer to call you back when your representativehas co-sponsored the Block Burmese JADE Act. Important: Leave yourphone number!Let him/her know that his/her constituents care about Burma!
To add their name as a cosponsor:Let them know that to co-sponsor they should contact Eric Richardsonat the Committee on Foreign Affairs office ateric.richardson@mail.house.gov or 225-5021.
Check up to see if they cosponsor:It's easy to check and see if they follow through and agree tocosponsor. THOMAS, the Library of Congress' congressional recordsdatabase updates a list of all information on legislation. Click onthis link to find out who has signed as cosponsors.
Thank you all for your vigilance. We must do everything we can tosupport the people of Burma during these uncertain times. If you haveany questions or ideas, feel free to contact me orthelma@uscampaignforburma.org

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