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Indicator: Burma Laws

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Three years ago, the Berkeley City Council passed a landmark resolution barring business transactions with Burma because of the country's repressive human rights record.

Since then, 16 US cities, including New York and San Francisco, have followed suit. The state of Massachusetts, California's Alameda County, and several major American universities have passed similar selective purchasing ordinances. President Clinton has banned new US investment in Burma, although existing relations remain unaffected.

Despite this trend, some cities have yet to sign on. Seattle's City Council, for example, drafted a Burma ordinance that seemed to have widespread support, then rescinded it after feeling pressure from local businesses.

Critics of the military dictatorship, including Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, have asked foreign companies to divest from Burma. Several US companies have cut ties with Burma, including Anheuser-Busch, Levi Strauss, Texaco, and Pepsico. However, other companies including Arco and Unocal continue their operations in Burma.
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