US Approves new Myanmar Legislation to Support NUG and Resistance Forces

By The Irrawaddy 9 December 2022

The United States (US) House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which pledges to provide non-military assistance and to engage with Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the resistance forces collectively known as People’s Defense Forces (PDF).

The NDAA is an annual piece of legislation that lays out US defense priorities and authorizes appropriations. The fiscal 2023 NDAA includes the modified Burma Act. or Burma Act 2022, which is the extensively modified version of the Burma Act 2021 previously passed by the House of Representatives but rejected by the Senate.

In short, the act serves as a description of US policy towards Myanmar as the country struggles for democracy, human rights and justice.

It commits the US to helping return civilian governance to Myanmar and to pursuing accountability for human rights violations, as well as supporting anti-junta forces including EAOs and PDFs.

What is significant about the act is that it mentions the parallel National Unity Government and its parliamentary body, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.

The bill also authorizes support for civil society, defectors, and political prisoners, promising funds during the fiscal years 2023 to 2027 to support the pro-democracy movement, civil society organizations, and the political entities and affiliates of EAOs. It also allocates funds to strengthen federalism, assist in ethnic reconciliation, protect political prisoners, encourage military defections, and investigate and document atrocities.

In addition, the bill also commits the US to push for greater action at the United Nations against the military regime, and also calls for holding Russia and China accountable for their support of the junta.

The Senate is expected to pass the NDAA next week, before sending it to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. If the Burma Act is approved, Myanmar will receive help from the US to restore democracy.