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European Union Study for Reduction

Subject: Re: European Union Study for Reduction of Trade Status "Myanmar"! Urgent!

Thanks to BCN(Netherlands) for this posting, we here in France would
like to underline the importance now of this trade reduction status
currently underway in the EC, and considered by the Delhi Convention as
a very important future develop to follow and coordinate, using the
valuable press information and documented human rights abuse by forced
labor. We in France are now preparing a document on this and to work
with unions (in liason with the ILO), so not to let this slip by. 

To all free burma advocates, especially european groups for taking
special action now and in the coming month to coordinate information to
be sent to European Commission regarding forced labor documented
information with the goal to reduce Burma's generalised trading
preferences. This is as close to sanctions as the movement here is
moving in cohesion with the spirit of boycott and withdrawal of
currently increasing trade relations Europe/Burma.

>Subject: Possible boycott on Burma by European Union
>The suggestive subjectline above is BCN's: but read the following two 
>European press releases 
>(EU) EU/Burma: Comission Opens Procedure for a Temporary Total or
Partial Withdrawal of Generalised Preferences

Brussels, 16/01/1996 (Agense Europe) - As EUROPE indicated 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There are other cases when preferences can be withdrawn (lack of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 decision by a qualified majority.

>End text
>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
>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

What is the world waiting for?
Dawn Star
Friends of Burma
Free Burma Action Group France
Burma Net Pipeline (Total) Coordinator

UVI.net Magazine
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tel  (33 1) 43 29 27 18; fax (33 1) 43 29 32 4