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108th Congress Rept. 108-159
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session Part 1
BURMESE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY ACT OF 2003
June 17, 2003.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Hyde, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 2330]
The Committee on International Relations, to whom was
referred the bill (H.R. 2330) to sanction the ruling Burmese
military junta, to strengthen Burma's democratic forces and
support and recognize the National League of Democracy as the
legitimate representative of the Burmese people, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
with an amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Amendment.................................................... 2
Purpose and Summary.............................................. 4
Background and Need for the Legislation.......................... 5
Committee Consideration.......................................... 6
Votes of the Committee........................................... 6
Committee Oversight Findings..................................... 6
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................ 6
Committee Cost Estimate.......................................... 6
Performance Goals and Objectives................................. 6
Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 6
Section-by-Section Analysis...................................... 7
Agency Views..................................................... 9
New Advisory Committees.......................................... 9
Congressional Accountability Act................................. 10
Federal Mandates................................................. 10
The amendment is as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has
failed to transfer power to the National League for Democracy
(NLD) whose parliamentarians won an overwhelming victory in the
1990 elections in Burma.
(2) The SPDC has failed to enter into meaningful, political
dialogue with the NLD and ethnic minorities and has dismissed
the efforts of United Nations Special Envoy Razali bin Ismail
to further such dialogue.
(3) According to the State Department's ``Report to the
Congress Regarding Conditions in Burma and U.S. Policy Toward
Burma'' dated March 28, 2003, the SPDC has become ``more
confrontational'' in its exchanges with the NLD.
(4) On May 30, 2003, the SPDC, threatened by continued
support for the NLD throughout Burma, brutally attacked NLD
supporters, killed and injured scores of civilians, and
arrested democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi and other
(5) The SPDC continues egregious human rights violations
against Burmese citizens, uses rape as a weapon of intimidation
and torture against women, and forcibly conscripts child-
soldiers for the use in fighting indigenous ethnic groups.
(6) The SPDC is engaged in ethnic cleansing against
minorities within Burma, including the Karen, Karenni, and Shan
people, which constitutes a crime against humanity and has
directly led to more than 600,000 internally displaced people
living within Burma and more than 130,000 people from Burma
living in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border.
(7) The ethnic cleansing campaign of the SPDC is in sharp
contrast to the traditional peaceful coexistence in Burma of
Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and people of traditional
(8) The SPDC has demonstrably failed to cooperate with the
United States in stopping the flood of heroin and
methamphetamines being grown, refined, manufactured, and
transported in areas under the control of the SPDC serving to
flood the region and much of the world with these illicit
(9) The SPDC provides safety, security, and engages in
business dealings with narcotics traffickers under indictment
by United States authorities, and other producers and
traffickers of narcotics.
(10) The International Labor Organization (ILO), for the
first time in its 82-year history, adopted in 2000, a
resolution recommending that governments, employers, and
workers organizations take appropriate measures to ensure that
their relations with the SPDC do not abet the government-
sponsored system of forced, compulsory, or slave labor in
Burma, and that other international bodies reconsider any
cooperation they may be engaged in with Burma and, if
appropriate, cease as soon as possible any activity that could
abet the practice of forced, compulsory, or slave labor.
(11) The SPDC has integrated the Burmese military and its
surrogates into all facets of the economy effectively
destroying any free enterprise system.
(12) Investment in Burmese companies and purchases from
them serve to provide the SPDC with currency that is used to
finance its instruments of terror and repression against the
(13) On April 15, 2003, the American Apparel and Footwear
Association expressed its ``strong support for a full and
immediate ban on U.S. textiles, apparel and footwear imports
from Burma'' and called upon the United States Government to
``impose an outright ban on U.S. imports'' of these items until
Burma demonstrates respect for basic human and labor rights of
(14) The policy of the United States, as articulated by the
President on April 24, 2003, is to officially recognize the NLD
as the legitimate representative of the Burmese people as
determined by the 1990 election.
(15) The United States must work closely with other
nations, including Thailand, a close ally of the United States,
to highlight attention to the SPDC's systematic abuses of human
rights in Burma, to ensure that nongovernmental organizations
promoting human rights and political freedom in Burma are
allowed to operate freely and without harassment, and to craft
a multilateral sanctions regime against Burma in order to
pressure the SPDC to meet the conditions identified in section
3(a)(3) of this Act.
SEC. 3. BAN AGAINST TRADE THAT SUPPORTS THE MILITARY REGIME OF BURMA.
(a) General Ban.--
(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, until such time as the President determines and certifies
to Congress that Burma has met the conditions described in
paragraph (3), no article may be imported into the United
States that is produced, mined, manufactured, grown, or
assembled in Burma.
(2) Ban on imports from certain companies.--The import
restrictions contained in paragraph (1) shall apply to, among
(A) the SPDC, any ministry of the SPDC, a member of
the SPDC or an immediate family member of such member;
(B) known narcotics traffickers from Burma or an
immediate family member of such narcotics trafficker;
(C) the Union of Myanmar Economics Holdings
Incorporated (UMEHI) or any company in which the UMEHI
has a fiduciary interest;
(D) the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) or any
company in which the MEC has a fiduciary interest;
(E) the Union Solidarity and Development
Association (USDA); and
(F) any successor entity for the SPDC, UMEHI, MEC,
(3) Conditions described.--The conditions described in this
paragraph are the following:
(A) The SPDC has made substantial and measurable
progress to end violations of internationally
recognized human rights including rape, and the
Secretary of State, after consultation with the ILO
Secretary General and relevant nongovernmental
organizations, reports to the appropriate congressional
committees that the SPDC no longer systematically
violates workers rights, including the use of forced
and child labor, and conscription of child-soldiers.
(B) The SPDC has made measurable and substantial
progress toward implementing a democratic government
(i) releasing all political prisoners;
(ii) allowing freedom of speech and the
(iii) allowing freedom of association;
(iv) permitting the peaceful exercise of
(v) bringing to a conclusion an agreement
between the SPDC and the democratic forces led
by the NLD and Burma's ethnic nationalities on
the transfer of power to a civilian government
accountable to the Burmese people through
democratic elections under the rule of law.
(C) Pursuant to section 706(2) of the Foreign
Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public
Law 107-228), Burma has not been designated as a
country that has failed demonstrably to make
substantial efforts to adhere to its obligations under
international counternarcotics agreements and to take
other effective counternarcotics measures, including,
but not limited to (i) the arrest and extradition of
all individuals under indictment in the United States
for narcotics trafficking, (ii) concrete and measurable
actions to stem the flow of illicit drug money into
Burma's banking system and economic enterprises, and
(iii) actions to stop the manufacture and export of
(4) Appropriate congressional committees.--In this
subsection, the term ``appropriate congressional committees''
means the Committees on Foreign Relations and Appropriations of
the Senate and the Committees on International Relations and
Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
(b) Waiver Authorities.--The President may waive the prohibitions
described in this section for any or all products imported from Burma
to the United States if the President determines and notifies the
Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations of the Senate and
the Committees on Appropriations, International Relations, and Ways and
Means of the House of Representatives that to do so is in the national
interest of the United States.
(c) Duration of Trade Ban.--The President may terminate the
restrictions contained in this Act upon the request of a democratically
elected government in Burma, provided that all the conditions in
subsection (a)(3) have been met.
SEC. 4. FREEZING ASSETS OF THE BURMESE REGIME IN THE UNITED STATES.
Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Secretary of the Treasury shall direct, and promulgate regulations to
the same, that any United States financial institution holding funds
belonging to the SPDC or the assets of those individuals who hold
senior positions in the SPDC or its political arm, the Union Solidarity
Development Association, shall promptly report those assets to the
Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Secretary of the Treasury may
take such action as may be necessary to secure such assets or funds.
SEC. 5. LOANS AT INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.
The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States
executive director to each appropriate international financial
institution in which the United States participates, to oppose, and
vote against the extension by such institution of any loan or financial
or technical assistance to Burma until such time as the conditions
described in section 3(a)(3) are met.
SEC. 6. EXPANSION OF VISA BAN.
(a) In General.--
(1) Visa ban.--The President is authorized to deny visas
and entry to the former and present leadership of the SPDC or
the Union Solidarity Development Association.
(2) Updates.--The Secretary of State shall coordinate on a
biannual basis with representatives of the European Union to
allow officials of the United States and the European Union to
ensure a high degree of coordination of lists of individuals
banned from obtaining a visa by the European Union for the
reason described in paragraph (1) and those banned from
receiving a visa from the United States.
(b) Publication.--The Secretary of State shall post on the
Department of State's website the names of individuals whose entry into
the United States is banned under subsection (a).
SEC. 7. CONDEMNATION OF THE REGIME AND DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION.
Congress encourages the Secretary of State to highlight the abysmal
record of the SPDC to the international community and use all
appropriate fora, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Regional Forum and Asian Nations Regional Forum, to encourage other
states to restrict financial resources to the SPDC and Burmese
companies while offering political recognition and support to Burma's
democratic movement including the National League for Democracy and
Burma's ethnic groups.
SEC. 8. SUPPORT DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS IN BURMA.
(a) In General.--The President is authorized to use all available
resources to assist Burmese democracy activists dedicated to nonviolent
opposition to the regime in their efforts to promote freedom,
democracy, and human rights in Burma, including a listing of
constraints on such programming.
(1) First report.--Not later than 3 months after the date
of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall provide
the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations of the
Senate and the Committees on Appropriations and International
Relations of the House of Representatives a comprehensive
report on its short- and long-term programs and activities to
support democracy activists in Burma, including a list of
constraints on such programming.
(2) Report on resources.--Not later than 6 months after the
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall
provide the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations
of the Senate and the Committees on Appropriations and
International Relations of the House of Representatives a
report identifying resources that will be necessary for the
reconstruction of Burma, after the SPDC is removed from power,
(A) the formation of democratic institutions;
(B) establishing the rule of law;
(C) establishing freedom of the press;
(D) providing for the successful reintegration of
military officers and personnel into Burmese society;
(E) providing health, educational, and economic
Purpose and Summary
H.R. 2330 is intended to strengthen democratic forces in
Burma and to sanction the ruling Burmese military junta. The
bill includes: (Sec. 2) a series of findings detailing the
Burmese regime's repression and misdeeds; (Sec. 3) a trade ban
on the import of Burmese goods into the U.S. (which the
President may waive for purposes of the national interest);
(Sec. 4) a freeze on Burmese regime assets in U.S. financial
institutions; (Sec. 5) a codification of the current policy
directing the Treasury Department to oppose any new loans or
technical assistance to Burma; (Sec. 6) an expansion of the
current ban prohibiting Burmese leaders from receiving U.S.
visas; (Sec. 7) a section encouraging the Secretary of State to
use all appropriate fora to encourage other states to restrict
support for the Burmese regime and to support the Burmese
democracy movement; and (Sec. 8) a section authorizing the
President to use resources to assist Burmese democracy
activists, and requiring reports on U.S. democracy programs in
Burma and on resources that will be necessary for the
reconstruction of Burma after the regime is removed from power.
Background and Need for the Legislation
On May 30, 2003, a group of government-affiliated thugs
carried out a premeditated ambush of the motorcade of Burma
democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has
been detained since then. An undetermined number of her
supporters were murdered in that attack.
Burma is ruled by a military junta that seized power by
force in 1988 and currently calls itself the State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC). Although Aung San Suu Kyi's
National League for Democracy (NLD) won the majority of
National Assembly seats in a free and fair election in 1990,
the junta nullified the results and imprisoned NLD leaders. The
military regime has committed numerous other human rights
abuses, such as large-scale forced labor and the reported use
of rape as a weapon against insurgencies by ethnic minorities.
The findings and sanctions in H.R. 2330 are justified and
necessary to promote freedom in Burma, both because of the
Burmese regime's egregious behavior, and because export trade
is a key source of foreign exchange for the junta and its
apparatus of repression. Rarely does Congress have the
opportunity to respond immediately to fast-breaking
international developments to effect a decisive and dramatic
change in U.S. foreign policy. Congress has just such an
opportunity now regarding Burma.
The history of this bill is instructive. Legislation
imposing an import sanctions ban was first proposed last
Congress, but Congress did not act in large part because the
Burmese regime released Aung Sang Suu Kyi from her longstanding
house arrest. It appeared that dialogue and national
reconciliation in Burma was possible.
But with the brutal attack last week, the Rangoon regime
unambiguously recommitted itself to quashing all democratic
opposition in Burma and extending is reign of terror over a
captive nation. It is clear that dialogue and national
reconciliation in Burma are dead. The United States must adopt
a new approach toward Burma that includes a strong sanctions
H.R. 2330 also presents the United States with an
opportunity to exercise global leadership and to provide an
example for the international action that must follow in order
to have a far-reaching impact on Burma's military junta.
Europe--which already has strong Burma policies in place--also
should adopt import sanctions. Thailand and China must
recognize that national reconciliation will not happen under
the current regime, and stop their economic and political
patronage of the Burmese dictatorship.
The Committee's Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held 1
day of hearings that addressed recent developments in Burma and
H.R. 2330 on June 10, 2003. Testimony was received from four
witnesses, representing four organizations.
On June 10, 2003, the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
met in open session and ordered favorably reported the bill
H.R. 2330, by a voice vote, a quorum being present. On June 12,
2003, the Committee met in open session and ordered favorably
reported the bill H.R. 2330 with amendments by voice vote, a
quorum being present.
Votes of the Committee
There were no recorded votes.
Committee Oversight Findings
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the
descriptive portions of this report.
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures
Clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII is inapplicable because
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or
increased tax expenditures.
Committee Cost Estimate
At the time of the filing of the report on H.R. 2330, the
cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office was not
available. Based on the best information available at this
time, the Committee estimates that, should H.R. 2330 be
enacted, it would require no expenditures but would reduce
Federal revenues by, at most, approximately $26 million in FY
2004 and $130 million over the next 5 fiscal years. This
estimate assumes that the President does not exercise the
waiver authority provided in Section 3(b) of the bill during
that period, and that conditions do not improve so as to
terminate the trade ban, as provided in Section 3(c).
Performance Goals and Objectives
H.R. 2330 will strengthen democratic forces in Burma and
sanction the ruling Burmese military junta.
Constitutional Authority Statement
Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for
this legislation in article I, section 8, of the Constitution.
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion
Section 1. Short Title
This section contains the short title to the legislation,
the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003.''
Section 2. Findings
This section contains a series of findings regarding: (1)
the victory of the opposition National League of Democracy
(NLD) in the 1990 elections in Burma; (2) the efforts made by
the United Nations to negotiate a solution between the ruling
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and NLD leader Aung
San Suu Kyi; (3) the increasingly confrontational policies of
the SPDC; (4) the attack by the regime on the NLD and Aung San
Suu Kyi on May 30; (5), the gross violations of human rights
carried out by the Burmese regime; (6) the SPDC's ethnic
cleansing campaign against Burma's ethnic minorities; (7) the
traditional peaceful coexistence of Burma's various religions;
(8) the flow of illegal narcotics from Burma; (9) the regime's
business dealings with narcotics traffickers; (10) the regime's
use of forced labor; (11) the integration of the SPDC into the
Burmese economy; (12) the role of foreign investment in
supporting the Burmese regime; (13) the call of the American
Apparel and Footwear Association for an import ban on Burmese
products; (14) President Bush's recent statements in support of
the NLD in Burma; and, (15) the need for the U.S. to work
closely with other nations on Burma policy.
Section 3. Trade Ban
This section prohibits the importation into the U.S. of any
article which is produced, mined, manufactured, grown or
assembled in Burma. The section also delineates several Burmese
entities which will be included in the comprehensive import
ban, including the SPDC, Burmese narcotics traffickers and
their family members, the Union of Myanmar Economics Holdings
Incorporated (UMEHI), the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC),
the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), and any
successor entities for the SPDC, UMEHI, MEC or USDA.
The sanctions in the bill may be lifted when the President
certifies to Congress that a series of conditions inside Burma
have been met. The conditions include substantial and
measurable progress to end human rights violations, and the
Secretary of State has reported to Congress that the SPDC no
longer systematically violates workers rights, including the
use of forced and child labor, and conscription of child-
soldiers. The conditions also include measurable and
substantial progress towards implementing a democratic
government, including releasing all political prisoners,
allowing freedom of speech and the press, freedom of
association, and the peaceful exercise of religion. The
President must also certify the conclusion of an agreement
between the SPDC, the NLD and Burma's ethnic nationalities on
the transfer of power to a civilian government accountable to
the Burmese people through democratic elections under the rule
of law, and that Burma has not ``demonstrably failed'' to
cooperate with the U.S. on counter-narcotics matters pursuant
to Section 706(2) of the PL 107-228.
The sanctions may be waived if it is in the ``national
interest of the United States.'' The Committee expects that the
President will not exercise this waiver authority without prior
consultations with the Members of the appropriate Congressional
committees, including the House International Relations
The President also may terminate the restrictions contained
in this act upon the request of a democratically elected
government in Burma, provided that all of the conditions in
subsection (a)(3) have been met.
Section 4. Freezing of Burmese Assets
This section directs the Secretary of the Treasury to
freeze any assets in U.S. financial institutions belonging to
the SPDC and its senior members, and its political arm, the
Union Solidarity Development Association, and promptly report
those assets to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Section 5. Loans to Burma from the International Financial Institutions
This section codifies existing policy directing the
Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the United States
executive director to each appropriate international financial
institution in which the United States participates, to oppose
and vote against any new loans or financial or technical
assistance to Burma until such time as the conditions in
section 3(a)(3) are met.
Section 6. Visa Ban Expansion
This section authorizes the President to deny visas and
entry to the former and present leadership of the SPDC or the
Union Solidarity Development Association. The State Department
is directed to consult biannually with the European Union to
ensure full coordination of the lists of individuals banned
from obtaining a visa from the European Union and those banned
from receiving a visa from the United States. This section also
requires the Secretary of State to post on the State
Department's website the names of individuals whose entry into
the U.S. is banned.
Section 7. Condemnation of the Burmese Regime
This section state that Congress encourages the Secretary
of State to highlight the abysmal record of the SPDC to the
international community and use all appropriate fora to
encourage other states to restrict financial support to the
SPDC and Burmese companies while offering political recognition
and support to Burma's democratic movement.
Section 8. Support for Democracy Activists
This section authorizes the President to use all available
resources to assist Burmese democracy activists dedicated to
nonviolent opposition to the regime in their efforts to promote
freedom, democracy, and human rights in Burma. The section also
requires two reports from the Secretary of State to Congress,
one report due 3 months after the date of enactment on all U.S.
democracy programs in Burma, the second report due 6 months
after the date of enactment identifying the resources that will
be necessary for the reconstruction of Burma after the SPDC is
removed from power.
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
June 11, 2003
Hon. Henry J. Hyde, Chairman,
Committee on International Relations,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The deteriorating conditions in Burma
are of grave concern to the Administration and we appreciate
your leadership in advancing legislation to respond to these
The Department of State also appreciates the opportunity to
review and comment on the ``Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act
of 2003 (H.R. 2330),'' which Mr. Lantos introduced on June 4,
2003. We fully support the goal and intent of this legislation
and agree on the need for many similar measures. For example,
we are working on a unilateral expansion of the visa ban,
extending it to all officials of the Union Solidarity
Development Association (part of the SPDC) and their immediate
families, rather than just to senior officials, as is current
practice. We will also be adding managers of the state-run
enterprises and their families to the list.
We agree on the need to prevent IFI funds going to the
junta. We will continue to use our voice and vote in those
institutions to oppose loans that benefit the military regime.
We also agree on the need to express strong support for the
NLD, and are doing so in every international forum in which the
United States participates, including at the UN. Also
significant are the findings of the annual Country Report on
Human Rights Practices, Trafficking in Persons Report and
Report on International Religious Freedom, which identify and
strongly condemn known SPDC abuses. The President's Annual
Report on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing
Countries has also identified Burma as a country that
demonstrably has failed to meet its international obligations
In addition to the above efforts, which are already
underway, we are determined to pursue additional measures
against the regime, including an asset freeze, a possible ban
on remittances and, with appropriate legislation, a ban on
travel to Burma. We hope to move forward with these measures
expeditiously and with the support of the Congress. We are also
considering a further limitation on commerce with Burma, as
proposed in your legislation. Any legislation would need to be
crafted to take into account its impact on our broader policy
objectives, including our WTO obligations, and the President's
need for waiver authority.
Again, thank you for your leadership on this issue and your
commitment to the cause of freedom. We look forward to working
with you on the bill.
Paul V. Kelly, Assistant Secretary
New Advisory Committees
H.R.2330 does not establish or authorize any new advisory
Congressional Accountability Act
H.R. 2330 does not apply to the legislative branch.
H.R. 2330 provides no Federal mandates.