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Representatives vote for tighter sanctions against Burmese junta

December 12, 2007

No Burmese gems or generals welcome in the USA.

According to the BBC, the US House of Representatives has voted for a bill that attempts to prevent the junta from hiding the origin of Burmese rubies and jade.The bill also aims to stop Burmese leaders using US banks to launder money in third countries. According to the US Campaign for Burma, the bill, together with a similar bill currently debated in the Senate, will prohibit Burmese officials involved in the violent suppression of protesters from receiving visas to the United States, thus keeping both gems and generals out of the USA.

If the bills are passed by the Senate, it will mark a tougher US attitude towards the Burmese junta. I do not know the details of the bills, or exactly how it is supposed to stop the laundering of gemstones in third countries before they enter the US. However, if the laws pass, and they really do work, it will be quite a blow to the Burmese junta, as more than 90% of the world’s ruby supply originates in Burma, and the gem trade is an important source of income for the Burmese regime.

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