WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday condemned Myanmar and threatened new sanctions after a U.N. report said its military rulers had used excessive force to crush a Buddhist monk-led revolt in September.
Bush said he was “deeply disturbed” by U.N. human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro’s report describing how the military government in the former Burma harassed, detained, and killed peaceful demonstrators.
“I strongly condemn these actions and the junta’s refusal to accept the need for real change in Burma. Even while Mr. Pinheiro was in Burma, the regime continued to arrest and harass monks and democracy activists,” Bush said.
He said the report demonstrates why the world cannot go back to business as usual with Myanmar’s military leaders.
“I call on all members of the international community to condemn the atrocities detailed in Mr. Pinheiro’s report in the strongest possible terms,” Bush said.
“Should the regime continue to ignore calls for a true democratic transition and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, the United States is prepared to lead international efforts to place more sanctions on the regime,” he said.
Pinheiro’s report, prepared for the U.N. Human Rights Council, said at least 31 people were killed when Myanmar’s military rulers suppressed the demonstrations. Official media said 10 people died.
Bush expanded sanctions against Myanmar’s rulers in October, the second package of U.S. measures in less than a month, adding more of Myanmar’s military leaders to a list of 14 already were facing sanctions. The measures also tightened U.S. export controls to the Asian country.
Myanmar has been under military control since 1962. The army held elections in 1990, but refused to hand over power after being outvoted by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.