U.S. Restores Relations With Myanmar

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While U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley visited Myanmar, that country has received a favorable overture in response to their political reforms.

Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) met with families of political prisoners in Rangoon as part of his travel to Burma. During the meeting, Crowley listened to the concerns of the families and expressed his strong support for the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Our representative is the first member of Congress to meet with families of political prisoners held in Burma.

“It was an honor to meet with the families of political prisoners here and I’m grateful for the opportunity to hear first-hand their concerns,” said Rep. Crowley. “In all of my meetings, I'm strongly urging the immediate and unconditional release of all those who are locked up for exercising their political beliefs.”

The families included in the meeting were those of political prisoners from the National League for Democracy, the 88 Generation Students Group, the media, and ethnic minority groups. Crowley also met with the families of Khun Htun Oo, Chairman, and Sai Nyunt Lwin, General Secretary, of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy. Human rights groups estimate that there are well over 1,000 political prisoners in Burma.

Crowley also met with several government officials in the capital city of Naypyitaw.

He is the U.S. House of Representatives to officially travel to Burma in over 12 years. He has been a leader on Burma in the House – spearheading the effort to strengthen sanctions on Burma’s military leaders through the Block Burmese JADE Act, authoring legislation to renew the ban on all imports from Burma contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, and leading the successful effort to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

The United States restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar on Friday, responding to the new civilian government’s rapid campaign of political and economic changes that most recently included a cease-fire with ethnic Karen rebels and the release of prominent political prisoners.