Please Support the people of Burma (Myanmar)

Urge your senator to co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021

On February 1, 2021, the military of Burma (also known as Myanmar) launched a coup that overthrew the country’s democratically elected government. Protests against the coup ensued as the Burmese people took to the street to demand restoration of the democratically elected government and release of elected leaders from detention. The Burmese army has tortured, killed and imprisoned thousands of protesters, while many more have been internally displaced or forced to flee their country. The February 1 coup has further inflamed violence perpetrated by the Burmese military for years, which has a history of targeting certain ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya people.

In response, the U.S. government imposed targeted sanctions on several military personnel, their families, and companies with business ties to the Burmese military. In addition, Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced the Burma Act of 2021 (S.2937 / H.R.5497), legislation that seeks to:

  • Authorize additional targeted sanctions against individuals and entities who helped stage the February 1 coup d’état and are responsible for the subsequent repression of fundamental freedoms, human rights abuses, use of indiscriminate violence towards civilians and other gross atrocities;
  • Prohibit the import of precious and semi-precious gemstones from Burma into the United States; 
  • Establish a new position at the State Department, a Special Coordinator for Burmese Democracy, to promote an international effort to impose and enforce multilateral sanctions on Burma and coordinate U.S. government interagency efforts on Burma; and 
  • Authorize support to civil society and for humanitarian assistance in Burma, Bangladesh, Thailand and the surrounding region.

On April 6, the House of Representatives passed the Burma Act of 2021, and now we need the Senate to do the same. Please take a moment to urge your senator to co-sponsor and support S.2937.

The ELCA works with four companion churches in Myanmar: the Myanmar Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in Myanmar, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Myanmar – Lutheran Bethlehem Church and the Mara Evangelical Church. Strategies are being developed to support those displaced by fighting with living supplies and shelter, and education for children and young adults. The ELCA is also working with companion Church of Christ in Thailand in support of those who have sought refuge in Thailand.

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