Burma's Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions [December 16, 2013]   [open pdf - 361KB]

From the Document: "The release of Burma's political prisoners has a central role in U.S. policy and Burma's political future. Many of the sanctions that the United States began imposing on Burma in the late 1980s were implemented after Burma's ruling military junta suppressed protests and detained many political prisoners. In addition, the removal of many of the existing U.S. sanctions requires the release of all political prisoners in Burma. Burma's President Thein Sein pledged during a July 2013 trip to the United Kingdom to release all the political prisoners in his country by the end of the year. Since his announcement, he has granted amnesty on four occasions to a total of 231 people. Different sources provide varying estimates on the number of political prisoners that remain in detention, with estimates ranging between around 100 and 300. In addition, according to some observers, the Thein Sein government is using old and new laws to arrest and convict protesters, dissidents, and human rights advocates, creating dozens of new political prisoners, raising doubts about the President's ability to fulfil [sic] his pledge. […] Congress may choose to examine the political prisoner issue in Burma either separately or as part of a broader review of U.S. policy towards Burma. Congress may also consider taking up legislation--on its own or in response to a request from the Obama Administration--to amend, modify, or remove some of the existing sanctions on Burma."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42363
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