Physiciansfor Human Rights (PHR) joined more than 20 other organizations in calling onPresident Obama to commit his Administration to enacting financial and bankingsanctions and to pressing for an international Commission of Inquiry toinvestigate crimes in Burma. The letter, sent today, urges the President to use all the tools athis disposal to stem the ongoing human rights violations in Burma. The BlockBurmese JADE Act of 2008, for example, includes banking and financial sanctionsthat have so far have not been fully implemented. Enacting these sanctionswould target specific leaders of Burma’s regime and their cronies as well asthe banks that hold the government’s currency reserves. One effect ofimplementing these necessary tools would be the regime’s weakened ability tocontinue its campaigns of violence against ethnic minorities.
Theletter also stressed the importance of the United States making a ferventeffort to establish an international Commission of Inquiry. PHR’s recent reporton crimes against humanity in Chin State stressed the need for such an investigation, which has beenrecommended by United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana and issupported by Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Given therecent escalation in violence against minority groups, an investigation is needed now more thanever. PHR will continue to press the Administration for these important stepsto end human rights violations in Burma.