The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined 17 other faith-based organizations in sending the following letter to the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives calling on them to support the BURMA Act of 2021, a bill that responds to the ongoing, violent repression of citizens by the military junta that seized power in Myanmar on February 1, 2021.
February 14, 2022
Dear Members of Congress:
On behalf of the undersigned faith-based organizations committed to the protection of civil and human rights in the United States and abroad, we write to ask that you co-sponsor the BURMA Act of 2021 (H.R.5497 and S.2937). It has been one year since the Myanmar military seized power in a coup d’état on February 1, 2021, imprisoning elected representatives and prominent pro-democracy and human rights advocates. Since then, the army has murdered more than one thousand protesters and injured and imprisoned thousands more, including Catholic sisters and other religious leaders. We join in solidarity with civil society groups in Myanmar urging the international community to impose strong sanctions on the military and its extensive business interests.
The BURMA Act of 2021 will provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, support civil society, promote human rights and impose targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses. Guided by our faith traditions, we believe that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected. After careful research and consultation with partners in Myanmar, faith-based and other human rights organizations, we are confident the sanctions established in the BURMA Act would not have a significant negative impact on the civilian population, and that they are necessary to effectively pressure the junta to cease its violent repression of democracy activists and ethnic and religious minorities. Friends of faith groups on the ground write of continued arrests, killings, and displacement: “Unless the sources of the junta’s financial resources are stopped or depleted, violence will continue.”
As we mark this grim anniversary, please support the people of Myanmar by cosponsoring the BURMA Act of 2021 today. Our organizations and friends on the ground greatly appreciate your solidarity.
American Jewish Committee
Bridges Faith Initiative
Burma Task Force
Calvary Burmese Church
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington DC
Franciscan Action Network
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center
Jewish World Watch
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Pax Christi USA
Peace Appeal Foundation
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team
The Interfaith Center of New York
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