Text: H.Con.Res.317 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 317 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 317



                              May 7, 2008

      Received and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

  Condemning the Burmese regime's undemocratic draft constitution and 
                         scheduled referendum.

Whereas in 1974, then-dictator General Ne Win and his regime redrew the 1947 
        State Constitution and held a referendum for a military-backed 
        constitution, endorsing a civilian front for military rule, known as the 
        Burmese Socialist Program Party;
Whereas in 1988, the people of Burma came to the streets in a massive popular 
        democracy uprising to call


 for democracy, human rights, and an end to military rule and a single 
party system;

Whereas the current military regime violently crushed the mass democracy 
        uprising in 1988, killing more than 3,000 peaceful protesters and taking 
        over power from the previous regime;
Whereas the current military regime, officially known as the State Peace and 
        Development Council (SPDC), known previously as the State Law and Order 
        Restoration Council (SLORC), held multi-party elections in 1990;
Whereas despite the threat and pressure by the military regime to vote for the 
        candidates of the military-backed National Unity Party (NUP), the people 
        of Burma voted 82 percent of Parliament seats for the candidates of the 
        National League for Democracy (NLD) party, led by detained leader Daw 
        Aung San Suu Kyi and allied ethnic political parties;
Whereas the military regime refused to honor the election results and arrested 
        and imprisoned both democracy activists and elected members of 
Whereas the SPDC over a period of 14 years held a National Convention to draft a 
        new constitution in which the process was tightly controlled, repressive 
        and undemocratic;
Whereas the NLD walked out of the convention in 1995 because participants were 
        not allowed to table alternative proposals or voice disagreement with 
        the military regime;
Whereas in 2005, the leaders of the Shan Nationalities League of Democracy 
        (SNLD) were all arrested on false charges and sentenced to more than 90 
        years in prison each;
Whereas the people of Burma, led by democracy activists and Buddhist monks in 
        August and September 2007, took to the streets in nationwide peaceful 
        protests demanding the military regime participate in a meaningful tri-
        partite dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected political 
        parties from the 1990 elections and representatives of the ethnic 
        nationalities for national reconciliation and a transition to democracy;
Whereas according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights 
        Situation in Burma, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, leading human 
        rights groups and foreign diplomats based in Burma estimate the death 
        toll from the August and September 2007 peaceful protests is much higher 
        than reported by the regime;
Whereas the military regime brutally crushed the peaceful protests, killing at 
        least 31 people, leaving nearly 100 missing, and arresting 700 
        additional political prisoners bringing the number of Burma's political 
        prisoners to approximately 1,800;
Whereas the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement, issued by 
        unanimous consent of all members of the Council on October 11, 2007, 
        stated that ``the Security Council strongly deplores the use of violence 
        against peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar, emphasizes the importance of 
        the early release of all political prisoners and remaining detainees''.
Whereas the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement also stressed 
        ``the need for the Government of Myanmar to create the necessary 
        conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all 
        concerned parties and ethnic groups, in order to achieve an inclusive 
        national reconciliation with the direct support of the United Nations'';
Whereas the United Nations and governments around the world also repeatedly 
        called for the SPDC to hold a political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu 
        Kyi, her party, the NLD, and representatives of ethnic nationalities to 
        achieve national reconciliation and democratization and reverse the 
        decades-long misrule by the regime which has resulted in a downward 
        spiral of Burma's economic, educational, social, public health and 
        infrastructure sectors;
Whereas the SPDC has ignored the repeated requests of the United Nations and the 
        international community to release all political prisoners, end attacks 
        against civilians, and engage in a meaningful dialogue with Daw Aung San 
        Suu Kyi, her party, the NLD, and representatives of ethnic 
Whereas at the same time, the SPDC assigned a commission to draft a constitution 
        on October 18, 2007, with 54 hand-picked participants, in an attempt to 
        ignore past election results, to lock in a process that excludes 
        representatives of ethnic nationalities and the NLD from political 
        participation, and to legitimize continued military rule;
Whereas the latest version of the draft constitution seeks to codify military 
        rule by reserving 25 percent of parliamentary seats for military 
        appointees, permits the head of the military to intervene in national 
        politics, and ensures that key government ministries are held by 
        military officers;
Whereas in October 2007, the SPDC appointed Labor Minister U Aung Kyi as liaison 
        minister to engage with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for possible talks with 
        Senior General Than Shwe, leader of the SPDC, but there has been no true 
        exchange or tangible result from the few talks that were held;
Whereas recently, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi expressed through her party leaders that 
        she is unhappy with the SPDC's unwillingness to establish political 
        dialogue and she even urged the people of Burma to be prepared for the 
Whereas on February 9, 2008, the military regime announced that it will hold a 
        constitutional referendum in May 2008 and a general election in 2010;
Whereas on February 12, 2008, the SPDC extended for another year the house 
        arrest of U Tin Oo, Deputy Chairman of the NLD; and
Whereas early reports concerning the referendum voting indicate that Burmese 
        voters were instructed how to vote under supervision of officials, 
        sometimes under threat of physical violence and without an opportunity 
        to read the ballot they were forced to cast: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That Congress--
            (1) denounces the one-sided, undemocratic, and illegitimate 
        actions of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) that 
        seek to legitimize military rule through a flawed referendum 
        process to adopt a new, undemocratic constitution;
            (2) strongly urges that Burma's military regime begin a 
        meaningful tri-partite dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 
        1990 election-winning parties and representatives of ethnic 
        nationalities toward national reconciliation, democracy, 
        freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, 
        freedom of the press, and internationally recognized human 
        rights for all Burmese citizens;
            (3) demands the immediate and unconditional release of Daw 
        Aung San Suu Kyi, detained Buddhist monks, and all other 
        political prisoners and prisoners of conscience;
            (4) denounces the SPDC for its failure to comply with the 
        United Nation's recommendations and engage in a meaningful 
        time-bound tri-partite dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 
        1990 election winning parties and representatives of ethnic 
            (5) calls for the SPDC to comply fully and immediately with 
        the recommendations made by the United Nations Security Council 
        Presidential Statement issued on October 11, 2007;
            (6) urges the President to call for the United Nations 
        Security Council to condemn the undemocratic referendum process 
        and the SPDC's flawed constitution which will be the outcome of 
        the referendum;
            (7) urges the President to call for the United Nations 
        Security Council to pass a binding resolution, which will 
        instruct the regime to fully comply with the recommendations 
        made by United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari and the 
        United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement, and 
        strengthen the mandate of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to 
        engage in a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Daw Aung 
        San Suu Kyi, the 1990 election winning parties and ethnic 
        nationality representatives towards an inclusive democratic 
        national reconciliation;
            (8) urges the President to push for a comprehensive arms 
        embargo against the Burmese military regime at the United 
        Nations Security Council so that weapons produced by foreign 
        countries, including Ukraine, China, and Russia, that currently 
        sell weapons to Burma's military regime, can no longer be used 
        by Burma's military regime against civilians; and
            (9) urges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to 
        involve itself more deeply in reaching out to the Burmese 
        democracy movement and to work with the United Nations Security 
        Council and the Secretary-General to promote meaningful 
        political dialogue.

            Passed the House of Representatives May 6, 2008.


                                            LORRAINE C. MILLER,