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AAFA calls for renewal of Burma Import Ban
Jul '09
Citing further human rights abuses in Burma, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) sent letters to Congress calling on them to swiftly renew the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, an expiring import ban on goods from that country.

“AAFA once again calls on Congress to follow through on U.S. commitments to human rights and renew economic sanctions against Burma,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “AAFA strongly supports this renewal because it will send a clear and unmistakable message that the United States is not interested in doing business with regimes like the one that brutally enslaves the people of Burma.”

“A unilateral approach, however, will only bring about a limited effect,” said Burke. “I hope the world community will join the United States in implementing economic sanctions to demonstrate that there is no room for oppression in the global marketplace.”

AAFA was the first business organization to call for the original ban on all U.S. imports from Burma in 2003 and has been a strong advocate for its renewal in subsequent years. The current House bill (H.J. Res. 56) is sponsored by Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) and lead sponsors for the Senate version (S.J. Res. 17) are Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). These resolutions would maintain import restrictions against the ruling military junta in Burma for up to three years.

While the current import ban is set to expire on July 26, 2009, Burma continues to be cited by numerous organizations and governments for widespread human rights violations.

Most recently, the international community has been outraged by the junta's arrest and persecution of general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi. Facing trumped-up charges that she violated her most recent house arrest, the long-time advocate of freedom and democracy faces up to five years in prison. In light of the planned, upcoming elections, the first multiparty election since 1990 when NLD was declared victorious, many believe the arrest is an attempt to keep Aung San Suu Kyi isolated from the Burmese people.

American Apparel & Footwear Association

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