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Possible boycott on Burma by Europe

Subject: Possible boycott on Burma by European Union

The suggestive subjectline above is BCN's: but read the following two 
European press releases (of last week. Sorry for the delay)

(EU) EU/Burma: Comission Opens Procedure for a Temporary Total or Partial 
Withdrawal of Generalised Preferences
Brussels, 16/01/1996 (Agense Europe) - As EUROPE indic ated in yesterdays 
bulletin, the European Commission has opened an enquiry on "forced labour 
practices (words underlined) in Myanmar (Burma), with a view to a temporary 
withdrawal of the benefits of the European Union's Generalised System of 
Preference." It is the first time that the Coommission has used this 
procedure, which is found in the basic regulations on generalised 
preferences for developing countries, for cases when an exporting country 
practices a form of slavery or exports products made in prisons. There are 
other cases when preferences can be withdrawn (lack of control of drug 
traffic or money laundering, fraud, amifestly unfair trade practices), but 
in the case of Myanamar, it is the labour conditions that are the problem.

The procedure, which was opened on the basis of information provided by the 
international trade unionos after consultation of a committee in which the 
Member States are represented, calles for the publication in the Official 
Journal of the notice of the opening of the enquiry, with a call to provide 
any useful information within two months. An enquiry usually lasts a year. 
On the basis of the findings, the Commission can propose to the Council the 
total or partial temporay withdrawal or preferences, and then the Council 
must take a de3cision by a qualified majority.

End text

(The EU: was it a demo- or bureaucracy?)

EU/Burma: Content of Accusations made by International Trade Unions against 
Forced Labour Practices

Brussels, 17/01/1996 (Agence Europe) - As indicatedin yesterdays edition of 
Europe, p5, the European Commission has opened an inquiry into forced labour 
practices under the responsibility of the authorities of Myanmara (Burma). 
The findings of the inquiry could lead the Commision to propose that the 
Council suspend the counrty's benefit from the generalised system of tariffs 
(Burma exports tropical timber and tecxtile products to the EU).

The complaint against Myanmar was jointly lodged by the European Trade Union 
Conferderation (ETUC) and the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions (ICFTU). The complainants alleges that there are various froms of 
forced labour being prectised in Myanmar which are contrary to International 
Human Rights, the Conventions of the international Labour Organisation (ILO) 
on International Humanitarian Law. It is claimed that these violations have 
been committed by or with the consent of the authorities of Myanmar in the 
context of forec labour exacted from the civilian population. These 
prectices include forced civilian portering to assist military offensives, 
military labour, major development and infrastructure projects, tourist 
development projects and Army owned Commercial Ventures.

The allegations have been supported by witness stetements and reports from 
the International Bodies concerend, which, in teh view of the plaintiffs, 
leads to the conclusion that the resources to forced labour represents the 
future of the country's infrastructure policy.

It is furthermore alledged that through the employment of forced labour, the 
economic benefits that accrue are not being reinvested into the country's 
economy but being used by the leadership for purposes other than for the 
economic good of that country.

End text
BCN is onafhankelijke stichting. Doel: Nederlandse samenleving informeren 
over Burma. Het initieert en co-ordineert aktiviteiten die democratisering 
en duurzame ontwikkeling bevorderen. Het geeft een positieve bijdrage aan 
een constructieve dialoog tussen de diverse groeperingen.

Paulus Potterstraat 20
(31)20-6716952 (tel)
(31)20-6713513 (fax)

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