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U.S Senate passes NDAA Amendment and a new legislation set to provide humanitarian aid and support democracy in Myanmar

Melbourne – The U.S new legislation, which has already passed the Senate and ready to be sent to the President for his signature, is set to provide a variety of provisions for humanitarian aid, support democracy in Myanmar. 

The Bill is called a bipartisan Burma amendment in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sponsored and introduced on 18 February 2021 by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a U.S Senator for Kentucky. 

The Senate Republican Leader Senator McConnel said, “The Senate secured important provisions in this bipartisan amendment, which requires senior Administration officials to present to Congress within sixty days a strategy to impose costs on the military junta, legitimize representative organizations like the National Unity Government, restore democratic governance, and foster national reconciliation”. 

Over the last 10 months, Chin community leaders along with other Burmese communities have been fervently advocating to the Government and had done virtual signature to support the proposed amendment. 

The U.S has already provided $205 million in humanitarian assistance, mainly to assist Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and those affected by violence. 

According to ground reports received by The Chindwin, very little out of more than 300,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) is only reached by international humanitarian aid agencies – UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugee and World Food Programme) although hundreds of millions have been donated for Myanmar crisis by several Western countries. It is partly because of Myanmar’s junta blocking the access of humanitarian aid to flow into the severely affected areas such as southern Chin State, Sagaing region and Karenni State. 

Upon signing the Bill by the President, it will become law, requiring he senior officials from the State Department, United State International Development (USAID), Treasury Department, and Defense Department to appear before Congress to provide a briefing on specific U.S policy and security objectives in Myanmar. 

The Department of State will report to Congress on the military coup in Myanmar, including a description of U.S efforts to engage with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to support a return to Myanmar’s democratic transition and democratic values throughout ASEAN, and to influence the United Nations to hold accountable those responsible for the coup, including the requirement of Senior officials to provide briefs on; 

  • An assessment of the impact of existing U.S. and international sanctions on Burma, as well as possible additional sanctions.
  • Efforts to support Burma’s National Unity Government and other democratic actors such as the Civil Disobedience Movement, while denying legitimacy to the country’s military junta.
  • Key objectives, including the restoration of democracy in Burma, the establishment of an inclusive and representative civilian government, the creation of a reformed military reflecting the diversity of the country and under civilian control, and the enactment of constitutional, political, and economic reforms.
  • Accountability for atrocities and human rights violations in Burma, genuine national reconciliation among the country’s ethnic groups, and the release of political prisoners.
  • A review of China and Russia’s strategic interests in Burma and any actions taken by these countries to support the junta, promote ethnic conflict, or undermine Burma’s sovereignty.

In U.S, there are around 189,000 Myanmar nationals, with majority of the population calling United States home. 

Also, 242 of Myanmar diasporas communities and community-based organizations in US and beyond had sent an appeal letter to members of Congress, Senate and House of Representatives on 07 October, urging the U.S lawmakers to pass the proposed amendment Bill.

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