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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 17, 2007
Statement on Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Burma
President Bush today signed a notification to Congress of his intent to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma and the associated sanctions. This step is an indication of the President's serious concern over the continued deterioration of the situation in Burma and his determination to stand with those who are struggling to end tyranny in that country.
In recent weeks, the Burmese junta has stepped up its attacks on ethnic populations, producing even greater refugee flows; has used its mass member organization to conduct attacks on and extra-legally detain citizens in Irrawaddy Division and in Rangoon; has continued to harass and detain peaceful democracy activists; and has arrested students and others seeking to pray at pagodas for the release of political prisoners, including Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. These recent actions take place against a backdrop of ongoing grave human rights violations, including the use of rape as a weapon against civilian populations and conscription of child soldiers.
As the 17th anniversary of the 1990 elections approaches, it is clear that the junta is becoming only more brutal, more repressive, and more indifferent to the concerns of its neighbors and the international community. We urge the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to immediately and unconditionally release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners so that a genuine dialogue between all stakeholders may begin and national reconciliation may start in earnest. We also urge all nations, and especially Burma's neighbors, to condemn unequivocally the SPDC's continued unwillingness to move forward on its own promises to return the nation to democratic rule.
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