US Representative Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), a leader on Burma in the U.S. House of Representatives is delighted with president Obama visit to Burma.
He says President Obama’s visit to Burma is the most significant step in the effort to support human rights and democracy in Burma. Substantial progress has been made, but there is still much more to be done. Political prisoners remain locked up, ethnic violence must be stopped, and not all necessary political reforms have been put in place. This is an opportunity for the Burmese government to address these important outstanding issues.
Earlier this year, Crowley became the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives to officially travel to Burma in over 12 years. During this trip he met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, families of political prisoners, and several members of the government. In 2008, Crowley spearheaded the legislation to award Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with the medal – the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress, which was awarded to Daw Suu Kyi in September of this year.
In addition to leading this effort, Crowley also spearheaded the effort to strengthen sanctions on Burma’s military leaders through the Block Burmese JADE Act and authored legislation to renew the ban on all imports from Burma contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. Crowley has also worked to protect Burmese refugees who have fled to refugee camps in Thailand, India and Bangladesh.