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 Home > News & Policies > September 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 25, 2007

Fact Sheet: Burma: Calling for Human Dignity and Democracy

     Fact sheet President Bush Addresses The United Nations General Assembly

At the United Nations today, President Bush expressed the outrage of the American people at the continued oppression of the people of Burma. The people of Burma deserve to enjoy basic liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and worship. The United States calls on the Burmese regime to engage in a genuine dialogue with its own people, including the leaders of the pro-democracy movement and ethnic minority groups, on a transition to a civilian, democratic government. The Burmese regime should release those who have been arrested for peacefully expressing their views, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and should also exercise restraint in the face of peaceful protests.

President Bush called for a series of steps to help bring peaceful change to Burma. The President urged the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom.

President Bush announced that the United States will tighten economic sanctions. Sanctions against Burma were first imposed in 1997 with the issuance of Executive Order 13047. These sanctions were augmented on July 28, 2003 by the enactment of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act and the issuance of Executive Order 13310.

  • The tightened sanctions will block the property and interests in property of certain senior leaders of the regime and individuals who provide financial backing for the regime.
  • Under the current executive orders, the assets of a limited number of named entities are blocked, but the United States Government has not designated specific individuals. These new designations will identify members of the regime who are responsible for violations of human rights and for impeding the nation's transition to democracy.

President Bush also announced that the United States will expand the current visa ban.

  • The United States will impose an expanded visa ban on those individuals responsible for violations of human rights and those individuals aiding, abetting, and benefiting from the regime's efforts to impede Burma's transition to democracy, as well as their family members.

President Bush instructed his Administration to step up efforts to support the work of humanitarian groups that are alleviating suffering in Burma. Burma is experiencing a crisis on many fronts, including in health and education, and these humanitarian groups carry out important work to help in these areas.

  • The United States will review existing policies to ensure that we do all we can to facilitate the work of humanitarian groups, which face significant opposition from the Burmese regime.

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