US Congress members take aim at Myanmar over human rights abuse

20 April 2019
US Congress members take aim at Myanmar over human rights abuse
(File) Reuters' journalist Wa Lone in handcuffs talks to the media as he leaves the court after the first trial in Yangon, Myanmar, 10 January 2018. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

US Congress members, concerned that the Trump administration is not doing enough to address human rights concerns in Myanmar, are stepping in to address the situation, according to ABC News in a report 19 April.

A bipartisan pair of US lawmakers are set to introduce legislation in the House calling out Myanmar's government for its ongoing detention of political prisoners, including two Reuters journalists, and to provide new funding to the State Department to support organizations working for the prisoners' release, according to an advanced copy of the bill shared first with ABC News.

The news service reports that a group of Senate Republicans and Democrats introduced their own measure last week that would impose sanctions and other penalties on Myanmar for human rights abuses.

ABC News says the legislation comes just days after Myanmar's president issued 9,551 pardons on Wednesday, but only two for political prisoners, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent human rights organization that called the news "disappointing."

The two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were jailed for breaking the colonial era Official Secrets Act for their reporting on the Rakhine crisis. They were jailed for seven years.