April 22, 2021

Castro, Tenney Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Impose Arms Embargo Against Burmese Military

WASHINGTON — Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) today introduced a resolution urging the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to immediately impose an arms embargo against the military of Burma in an effort to end the ongoing coup by the Burmese military and deliver control of the nation back to its elected officials.

Since February 1, 2021, Burmese military leaders have remained in control of the country after carrying out a coup. They have used this unlawful control to violently oppress ethnic minorities, including firing artillery into Burmese villages, displacing thousands of people, as well as killing and suppressing peaceful protestors and innocent civilians. The Burmese military, also known as the “Tatmadaw”, continues to terrorize the Burmese people with violence across the country. While leaders at the United Nations have stated they will work to end the coup, Representatives Tenney and Castro believe immediate sanctions actions by the United Nations Security Council must be taken.

“In response to the military coup and to deter the Tatmadaw from further human rights abuses, the UN Security Council must impose a global arms embargo on Burma,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. “Stopping the supply of any weapons, ammunitions, and military equipment is of paramount importance to ensure this junta ends its repression of the people of Burma and the coup fails. This collective action will not only help protect vulnerable civilians, but also sends a powerful message from the international community that violations of human rights have serious consequences.”

"The ongoing violence in Burma is unacceptable and the United States must continue to champion the right of the Burmese people to live freely under a democratic, civilian government of their choosing. The UN Security Council must impose an immediate arms embargo to cut off the sale of weapons and equipment to the military, and maintain it until civilian rule is fully restored in Burma," said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney of New York. "This embargo will unite the international community and hold the Tatmadaw accountable for their human rights abuses. I will continue to stand with the Burmese people and support all diplomatic efforts to ensure an immediate return to democratic, civilian rule." 

This resolution builds on previous efforts the House of Representatives has taken to address the ongoing crisis in Burma. In March 2021, the House passed H.R. 1112, the Protect Democracy in Burma Act of 2021, a bipartisan piece of legislation to support democracy and stand with the people of Burma. The House also passed H.Res. 134 condemning the February coup in the country.  

Summary of the Resolution:

  • Requests the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) immediately impose an arms embargo against the military of Burma to prevent the continued acquisition of arms and military equipment and the proliferation of weapons throughout the country
  • Requests the UNSC hold the Tatmadaw accountable: 
    • for its ongoing violation of human rights and security forces' history of grave abuses against peaceful protestors of military rule and against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority groups
    • for obstructing humanitarian access to civilian populations in dire need of assistance
    • for using increasingly lethal force against peaceful, prodemocracy demonstrators
    • for threatening and arbitrarily detaining government officials, activists, journalists, students, and civil servants, and imposing rolling internet shutdowns that put lives at risk
  • Makes clear that lifting the arms embargo should be contingent upon the Tatmadaw:
    • implementing a ceasefire
    • releasing the democratically elected government leaders from imprisonment
    • bearing primary responsibility for gross human rights abuses 
    • allowing for unimpeded humanitarian access to vulnerable civilian populations
    • fully restoring internet and telecommunications access in the country
    • establishing a clear and verifiable process to immediately transition power back to a democratically elected civilian-led government
  • Urges the international community to continue support for the civilians, particularly ethnic minorities, who have been adversely affected by the coup in Burma and should promote peace and reconciliation dialogues within local civil society

Original cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Gerry Conolly (VA-11), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Young Kim (CA-39), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Blake Moore (UT-01), Dina Titus (NV-03), and Juan Vargas (CA-51).