US House renews Myanmar sanctions

The annual legislation bans import of goods from Myanmar, restricts visas issued to govt officials.

Washington: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved renewal of sanctions on Myanmar first passed in 2003 in response to alleged rights violations and failure to adopt democratic reforms.

Lawmakers adopted the measure by voice vote.

The annual legislation, which has passed easily in Congress in the past, bans the import of goods from Myanmar, including lucrative gems, and restricts visas issued to government officials in the country earlier known as Burma.

Democratic Representative Joe Crowley, a key author of the measure, said such legislation sent Myanmar`s people the message that Washington is "an ally in their struggle for human rights”.

It also sends "a clear signal to others around the world that the US will not turn a blind eye to crimes against humanity," Crowley said in a statement.

President Barack Obama earlier in May extended a separate set of sanctions that bar US investment in Myanmar.

The US Senate was expected to approve a companion measure as soon as it won approval from the chamber`s finance committee, sending the legislation to Obama to sign into law.

"We should be doing all we can to expand these sanctions into an even greater multilateral effort to support the Burmese people," said Crowley, who accused Myanmar`s rulers of "carrying out crimes against humanity."

"The sooner these abuses are investigated, the sooner they will end," he said.

Bureau Report