Help us pass the #BurmaBill

#BurmaBill
The Burma Act of 2021 is here!  

Congressman Gregory Meeks formally – and finally! – will introduce the Burma Act of 2021 (aka the #BurmaBill) in the House of Representatives. Even if you’ve sent a message before, click here today to urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021.

The introduction of this bill is a tribute to your hard work. Over the past few months, we have ramped up our email, phone calls, and Zoom meetings with our Members of Congress. Now, let’s ensure that our Members of Congress sign up as original co-sponsors the Burma Act of 2021. Lead sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the new #Burmabills will, not only sanction and hold accountable the Myanmar military but also provide support to Burmese civil society and much-needed humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people. Click here today to urge your U.S. senators and representative co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021.

Please follow up your message in these four easy – yet powerful – ways.

Follow up #1: email your U.S. representative
Find the name of your U.S. representative’s legislative director by simply searching under the name of your representative and the term “legislative director.” When you have the name, the staffer’s email will be simply [first name].[last name]@mail.house.gov (Don’t leave out the period between the first and last name.)

You may wish to use a succinct and direct subject line such as: “Please co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021”

Start your message with a mention of where you live in the state. Feel free to include a sentence or two on why you care about Myanmar and provide your address to show you live in the district. Please use or adapt the following text in your email. Please blind copy (bcc) us on your email at info@newmyanmar.org.I ask that my representative co-sponsor and support the Burma Act of 2021 introduced by Rep. Gregory Meeks.

To sign on as an original co-sponsor, please contact Anubhav Gupta in Rep. Meeks’s office at Anubhav.Gupta@mail.house.gov by 10am on Tuesday, September 28th.The US. Congress must show leadership in forcing the Burmese army to stand down from its coup d’etat and release all civilian government and civil society figures from detention. Please write back and tell me what actions my representative will take in response to the Myanmar military’s coup d’etat. Thank you. If you receive a reply, forward it to us at info@newmyanmar.org.

Follow up #2: call your representative’s office. Search online for your U.S. representative’s Washington, DC, phone number or call through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121

When you reach the office, ask to be connected directly to the staffer responsible for foreign policy either in person or on their voicemail. Simply tell the staffer – in person or on their voicemail – that you want your representative to co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021.

Ask them to contact Anubhav Gupta in Rep. Meeks’s office at Anubhav.Gupta@mail.house.gov to sign up as a co-sponsor. Leave your name, number, and city of residence to indicate that you live in the congressional district. Follow up with an email to the staffer and blind copy (bcc) us at info@newmyanmar.org. Email us at info@newmyanmar.org and tell us how your calls went. And please tell us of any changes or additions to your representative’s staffers.

Follow up #3: Check out our training sessions. Our Manager of our Campaign for a New Manager, Mike Haack, leads training sessions for the best ways to communicate with Congress and other elected officials. They are held on Sundays at 6:00 pm US EDT and Tuesdays at 9:00 pm US EDT. Simply join the Zoom call using this short link: https://www.tinyurl.com/CallCongress4Burma. You can also email Mike with any questions at mike.haack@newmyanmar.org.

Follow up #4: Join our lobbying efforts. We can support you with setting up Zoom meetings with the top staff of your Members of Congress. Again, contact Mike Haack, from the Campaign for a New Myanmar, to take part of that at mike.haack@newmyanmar.org.

Just one meeting, email, or phone call from a constituent can make a difference. Your Members of Congress need to know that you want Congress to act. The people of Myanmar can’t wait any longer.

#Stop GenocideGems from funding the Myanmar Military

#GenocideGems

You may have heard of #BloodDiamonds, but how much do you know about #GenocideGems? Myanmar produces more than 90% of the world’s rubies and jade, and these stones command the highest prices on the international market. Because it dominates Burma’s gemstone industry, the Myanmar military profits when high-end jewelry retailers – like Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) – buy Burmese gems for their collections.

Today, let’s take four actions to hold Harry Winston – and its owner Swatch – to account. They need to stop profiting from the sale of #GenocideGems.

Action #1: Share our petition to Harry Winston

Since you’ve already signed our petition to Harry Winston, please share the petition with your friends and family. Use this link.

Action #2: Post on the social media of Harry Winston and Swatch

In addition to signing the petition, follow up by posting messages on the companies’ social media accounts.

Copy the message below and adapt it as you wish. Add it as a comment on posts showcasing jewelry or watches on the Facebook and Instagram pages of Harry Winston and Swatch.

I refuse to buy your brands while Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) buys #GenocideGems from Myanmar that profit the Burmese military and its atrocities against the peoples of Myanmar.

Read the truth about Harry Winston here. https://bit.ly/HarryWinston_NoGenocideGems

Use the links below to the jeweler’s social media.

Don’t neglect to post similar comments on the companies’ LinkedIn page. Join us in telling the companies on their job postings why you would never work for a company that supports the Myanmar military.

Action #3: Make an appointment to protest at your local Harry Winston store

In addition to signing the petition, would you follow up by visiting one of Harry Winston’s stores?

Click on this link to make an appointment at one of Harry Winston’s swanky stores. If you can turn up for the appointment, ask to see the jewelry with rubies. Then explain to the store manager why you would never buy from Harry Winston as long as it buys gems that profit the Myanmar military.

Breaking! One of our awesome activists in the UK just visited Harry Winston’s London store. Let’s make sure Harry Winston hears from us at every store worldwide!

Action #4: Attend our virtual comedy night. 

On September 16 at 8:00 pm, some of the funniest people on the planet will come together to support our work on behalf of the Burmese people. You can learn more about the event here and you can buy your tickets here.  This is a virtual event.

We can and must build our pressure on Myanmar’s military. Your actions have moved your governments to pass tough sanctions and successfully pressed companies, such as Western Union, online jeweler Angara, and Kirin brewery, to end their business partnerships with the Burmese military. We can stop the sale of #GenocideGems.

Your gifts will help us keep building the campaigns and tools that we need to take effective action together. Please click here to make a gift of $30, $60, $120, $250, or more. Learn more about our other actions for the Rohingya here.

Harry Winston item featuring Burmese gems

For Further Reading:

When will Secretary Blinken recognize the genocide in Myanmar?

Antony Blinken

Let’s hold the Myanmar military accountable.

Last week, we joined over 90 organizations calling on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to publicly determine that Myanmar has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. This is a crucial initiative to hold the Myanmar military accountable for its atrocities throughout the country.

Lead sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the new Burma bill to be introduced shortly in Congress will, not only hold accountable the Myanmar military for its mass atrocities, but also to provide much needed humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people. Now, let’s make the final push to get this bill introduced!

Even if you’ve sent a message before, click here today to urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the new Burma bill.

This Wednesday, we will mark the fourth anniversary of the Myanmar military’s worst crackdown on the Rohingya, a campaign that killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. It’s long past time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to declare that the Rohingya are genocide victims.

Such a designation by the U.S. government will underpin the case for further US sanctions on the Myanmar military junta and assistance to Burmese civil society organizations. It would also improve the prospect for growing US recognition of the democratic and multi-ethnic National Unity Government of Myanmar.

Click here to join the thousands signing our petition to Secretary Blinken calling on him to recognize the Myanmar military’s genocide of the Rohingya.

We need your help to keep up our important work. Learn more about how you can help us here.

Military is Letting Covid Ravage Myanmar

covid

The third – and thus far most serious – wave of Covid is hitting Myanmar hard. Hospitals have reached maximum capacity. At military hospitals, staff are turning away civilians under orders to limit treatment to military personnel and their relatives. As Progressive Voice reports:

“Ultimately, the root cause of all these human rights and humanitarian catastrophes is the military junta’s insatiable lust for power at all costs, including letting the people of Myanmar perish from COVID-19 as collateral damage to their ends. This is another impasse which requires the international community’s emergency response.”

Again and again, the military junta has proved itself to be illegitimate, brutal, corrupt, and incompetent. We need the international communuty to not only to hold accountable the Myanmar military, but also to provide humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people. It is also time for the world to recognize instead the National Unity Government of Myanmar.

Thank you for signing our petition to President Biden urging that the US recognize the National Unity Government of Myanmar. Would you share the petition with your friends and family?

To share the petition urging the US to recognize the NUG, you can simply copy and paste the following message. You can also personalise the message as you wish. Email, text, and post this message on your social media.

Please join me in signing this petition urging that President Biden recognize the civilian National Unity Goverment of Myanmar. It’s vital that we support democracy and human rights in Myanmar following the military coup. Just click this link to sign: https://bit.ly/usa4nug

The NUG is made up of elected representatives, ethnic minority leaders, and prominent members of civil society. It was created to formalize and continue to fight for the profound changes that are happening in Myanmar. The NUG has vowed to abolish the 1982 citizenship law that has been the basis for excluding the Rohingya. It has also promised to abolish the 2008 constitution which grants the military vast powers.

To succeed, the NUG, however, needs recognition and access to the resources. This is why recognition from the U.S. government is so crucial to its success. For the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) in Myanmar to be successful, the world must recognize the NUG as the legitimate representative of the Myanmar people.

So please share our petition widely. Let’s build the movement of people worldwide taking action to support democracy and human rights in Myanmar. Thank you so much,

ps. Your gifts will help us keep building the campaigns and tools that we need to take effective action together. Please click here to make a gift of $30, $60, $120, $250, or more.

For Further Reading:

Why the Biden administration should recognize Myanmar’s shadow government,”by Michael Haack and SiuSue Mark, Washington Post, 15 July 2021

National Unity Government– official website (English)

Why the National Unity Government’s Statement on Myanmar’s Rohingya Is Important,” by Angshuman Choudhury, The Diplomat, 9 June 2021

Follow the up-to-the-minute news on Twitter using these hashags: #CivilDisobedienceMovement #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #JusticeForMyanmar

Subscribe to Frontier Myanmar’s excellent daily coverage from inside the country.

No Valentine’s Day for Harry Winston and Swatch

Tomorow is Valentine’s Day. It’s the biggest day for gifts of jewelry second only to Christmas. This weekend, let’s send a strong message to luxury jeweler Harry Winston, and its owner Swatch, to stop selling Burmese gems that profit Myanmar’s military.

Sign our petition to Harry Winston demanding that it stop supporting the Myanmar military.

For decades, Myanmar’s military has systematically burned down villages, gang-raped women and girls, and killed those who resist. This has been the Myanmar army’s brutal strategy of atrocities against ethnic minorities, such as the Kachin, Karen, and Shan as well as the military’s genocide against the Rohingya. Together, we can demand that Jewellery retailers, such as Harry Winston, stop buying Burmese gems that help fund the military’s atrocities against the peoples of Myanmar.

Myanmar produces more than 90% of the world’s rubies and jade, and these stones command the highest prices on the international market. The military dominates the gemstone industry in Myanmar. Its extensive commercial interests in gemstone extraction and trade mean that the military profits when high-end jewelry retailers – like Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) – buy Burmese gems for their collections.

Take action now to demand that Harry Winston stop selling Myanmar genocide gems.

We can make this Valentine’s Day weekend stand out for Harry Winston and Swatch. In addition to signing the petition, follow up by posting messages on the companies’ social media accounts.

Copy the message below and adapt it as you wish. Add it as a comment on posts showcasing jewelry or watches on the Facebook and Instagram pages of Harry Winston and Swatch.

I refuse to buy your brands while Harry Winston (owned by Swatch) buys #GenocideGems from Myanmar that profit the Burmese military and its atrocities against the peoples of Myanmar.

Read the truth about Harry Winston here. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-harry-winston-stop-selling-burmese-genocide-gems

Harry Winston’s Facebook

Harry Winston’s Instagram

Swatch’s Facebook

Swatch’s Instagram

Don’t neglect to post similar comments on the companies’ LinkedIn page. Join us in telling the companies on their job postings why you would never work for a company that supports the Myanmar military.

Harry Winston’s LinkedIn

Swatch’s LinkedIn

We can and must build our pressure on Myanmar’s military. Your actions have moved your governments to pass tough sanctions and successfully pressed companies, such as Western Union, online jeweler Angara, and Kirin brewery, to end their business partnerships with the Burmese military.

Your gifts will help us keep building the campaigns and tools that we need to take effective action together. Please click here to make a gift of $30, $60, $120, $250, or more.

Together, we can build our movement to end the Myanmar military’s corrupt and brutal rule.

Thank you so much,

Simon Billenness, Executive Director

For the International Campaign for the Rohingya: Debbie Stothard, Jack Rendler, J. Mark Brinkmoeller, Joseph K. Grieboski, Simran Stuelpnagel, Michael DeLong, and Alyson Chadwick.

Harry Winston item featuring Burmese gems

Ruby and Diamond ring by Harry Winston

“A 20.25 carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby center stone with 28 round brilliant diamonds weighing a total of approximately 4.64 carats, set in platinum.”

For Further Reading:

Subscribe to Frontier Myanmar’s excellent daily coverage from inside the country.

Will Myanmar’s ‘Genocide Gems’ Become the New Blood Diamonds?,” BusinessWeek,  October 17, 2018

“No Genocide Gems! Burmese Military Takes a Hit From Citizens Sanctions,” International Campaign for the Rohingya blog

Sanction Myanmar Military, Not Myanmar People,” Justice For Myanmar and Burma Campaign UK, 5 February 2021

Who Profits From a Coup? The Power and Greed of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing,” Justice For Myanmar, January 2021

“Dirty List” of companies doing business with the Myanmar military, Burma Campaign UK

Military Ltd,” Amnesty International, September 2020

Cloudflare Must Terminate Its Services For the Myanmar Military

International Campaign for the Rohingya & Burma Campaign UK

For Immediate Release: 8 February 2021

Cloudflare Must Terminate Its Services For the Myanmar Military

In the wake of the Myanmar military’s February 1st coup d’etat, Burma Campaign UK and International Campaign for the Rohingya today demanded American web services company Cloudflare terminate its services for the Myanmar military.

Cloudflare provides website services for the military controlled Ministry of Home Affairs, and for the military-controlled Burmese police force, which has been firing water cannons at peaceful protestors today. Cloudflare must introduce a policy of not working for the Myanmar military, including military controlled companies.  

“Following the attack on U.S. legislators at the U.S. Capitol, Facebook and Twitter suspended US President Donald Trump for inciting violence. At the same time, using its Cloudflare-protected websites, the Myanmar security forces planned, promoted, and executed, not only its February 1st, 2021, military coup, but also its genocide of the Rohingya and numerous other atrocities across the country,” stated Simon Billenness, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya.

In the past, Cloudflare has terminated its services for the American neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website and the 8chan website, used by American white supremacists responsible for the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Cloudflare should not be providing services for the Burmese military or for military controlled companies,” stated Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. ”No company which has a client such as the Myanmar military, which is holding coups and is involved in genocide, can claim to have any kind of credible human rights or social responsibility policies.”

“Cloudflare dropped as a client Stormfront for supporting the past genocide by the Nazis. Yet. Cloudflare continues to protect the websites of the Myanmar military as it executes its ongoing genocide of the Rohingya people in Burma,” stated Simon Billenness.

In December 2018 Burma Campaign UK placed Cloudflare on its ‘Dirty List’ of companies linked to Burma’s military. Cloudflare have not responded to correspondence from Burma Campaign UK but defended working for Min Aung Hlaing providing services for his website when approached by media. Min Aung Hlaing’s personal website appears to no longer be protected by Cloudflare but it is not clear if Min Aung Hlaing switched providers or if he was dropped by Cloudflare. There is no apparent logic to why Cloudflare might drop Min Aung Hlaing as a client but keep working for parts of the military under his control.

In 2016 and 2017, Min Aung Hlaing ordered major military offensives against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma. The main target of the military offensives was children. Almost 800,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. The Burmese military and security forces used horrific violations against the Rohingya, including mass rape, including of children, and killing thousands of people.

On 17th July the US government designated Min Aung Hlaing as being responsible for gross human rights violations and banned Min Aung Hlaing from visiting America. United Nations investigators have said doing any form of business with the military is indefensible.

Burma Campaign UK publishes a ‘Dirty List’ of international companies doing business with the military. More than 100 are listed. The ‘Dirty List’ is available here.

For more information contact:

Simon Billenness

Executive Director, International Campaign for the Rohingya

Campaign Director, No Business With Genocide

Mobile (US): 617-596-6158

Twitter: @Rohingya_ICR

simon.billenness@rohingyacampaign.org

www.rohingyacampaign.org

Mark Farmaner

Director of Burma Campaign UK

Mobile (UK): +44 (0794) 1239640

Twitter: @MarkFarmaner

mark.farmaner@burmacampaign.org.uk

www.burmacampaign.org.uk