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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the statement below following news reports of Burmese authorities using violent tactics on peaceful students demonstrating in Yangon:

“We are deeply dismayed after seeing photos of an apparent violent state crackdown on peaceful student demonstrators in Burma. This is completely inconsistent with a transition to democracy and President Thein Sein’s pledges to handle disagreements peacefully. The Burmese authorities must immediately release all detained students and pursue justice against those who carried out this crackdown.

“We also urge the authorities to restrain from future crackdowns against students, farmers and others, who exercise their right to peaceful assembly.” 

In 2014, Crowley and Chabot, along with Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced the Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act, legislation that would prevent the United States from providing or expanding military assistance to Burma’s Armed Services until benchmarks on human rights and defense reforms are met by the Burmese military. These benchmarks include free and fair elections, reform of the military-dominated constitution, an end to human rights abuses committed against the Burmese people, and the establishment of civilian oversight of the armed forces. Ahead of President Obama’s trip to Burma last November, the group of members sent a letter urging the President to make clear to Burmese authorities that failure to enact Democratic reforms and ongoing brutalities would jeopardize U.S.-Burma relations. 

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View the Press Release here