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ALERT: Ross Dress-For-Less Sells Bu

Subject: ALERT: Ross Dress-For-Less Sells Burma's Dirty Laundry

Burma Activists:

I will post any reply to the letter below...  Meantime, if you'd like to express 
concern about the "Made in Myanmar" product sold at Ross, Ron Chereskin Studio 
men's briefs manufactured by Chano Int'l Inc., you can call Ross CEO Norman 
Ferber at 1-800-BUY-ROSS.

David Wolfberg
L.A. Campaign for a Free Burma

February 15, 1996

Mr. Norman Ferber, CEO
Ross Dress-For-Less
8333 Central Avenue
Newark, CA  94560

Dear Mr. Ferber:

As clothing retailers go, Ross is to be commended for providing quality goods at 
low prices.  I am writing regarding one of these products.  

Last night whilst shopping at your Venice, California outlet, I came across a 
product from Ron Chereskin Studio, manufactured by Chano International, Inc. 
[Ref. RN 61673] -- Men's Briefs produced in Burma (Myanmar).  I regret to inform 
you that Burma-made textiles are the subject of international boycotts for the 
following reasons:

o   Burma's textile factories are owned in part by a brutal military junta, the   
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).  According to recent 
United Nations and human rights reports, SLORC continues to commit wide-scale 
human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and summary executions, 
torture, forced labor, forced portering, and suppression of freedom of speech and 
freedom of association, and violations of basic property rights.  SLORC is 
holding thousands of political prisoners, most recently detaining members of the 
party voted into power in 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

o   Levi-Strauss & Co. have stopped sourcing from Burma, finding it "impossible" 
to do so "without supporting the military regime and its pervasive violations of 
human rights."

o   The U.S. has no ambassador to Burma, but the last one there, Burton Levin, 
said that the SLORC is "so single-minded that whatever [income] they obtain from 
foreign sources they pour directly into the military."  SLORC's only enemies are 
the people of Burma who want democracy and the right to self-determination.

o   Macy's has stopped sourcing from Burma, finding it impossible to operate 
there without potential to violate the U.S. Corrupt Foreign Practices Act 
(bribery is so pervasive in SLORC's business relations as to be systematic).

o   Citing a growing awareness campaign about the situation in Burma, Eddie Bauer 
has stopped sourcing from Burma.  Liz Claiborne has also withdrawn.

o   After Petro-Canada canceled a joint venture with the SLORC, Petro-Canada 
executive John Ralston Saul referred to SLORC leaders as "thugs, criminals and 
drug dealers."

o   Due to human rights concerns, Reebok has committed to not doing business in 

o   National League for Democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu 
Kyi was held under house arrest for six years.  Following her June 1995 release, 
Suu Kyi has said "we are no where near Democracy yet" and that foreign investors 
should "jolly well wait" before jumping into business ventures in her country.

o   Included in the mission statement of the Free Burma Coalition, which now has 
more than fifty (mostly student-based) participating organizations, is a 
commitment to "fully support Aung San Suu Kyi" and the drive to restore Burma to 

In addition to these facts, women's organizations are increasingly concerned 
about the SLORC's use of gang rape in the bordering ethnic regions to humiliate 
and "ethnically cleanse" groups opposed by the SLORC.

I'm certain that your company had no idea about the implications of selling 
clothes made in Burma.  Ross is in a special position to make things a little 
easier on the people of Burma by canceling all contracts and future orders from 
Ron Chereskin Studio and Chano International until these companies withdraw from 
Burma.  This shouldn't have a great financial impact on Ross, which carries only 
a couple of clothing items from this company; but it will have a tremendous 
impact on the SLORC and may in fact lead to a lessening of human rights 
violations and swifter recognition of the NLD, which represents more than seven 
million voters in Burma.    

Already, the cities of Berkeley, Madison and Santa Monica have passed tough South 
Africa-style selective contracting measures preventing them from doing business 
with companies involved in Burma.  Ross ought to enact a similar policy.  

Frequently, a clothing wholesaler will respond to inquiries about sourcing from 
Burma by claiming that factory conditions there "meet or exceed international 
standards".  Whether or not this is true, it has nothing to do with our position 
that supporting the SLORC in any way is reprehensible.  Dozens of Nobel laureates 

Burmese members of my group in Los Angeles would like to meet with you.  We can 
also arrange a meeting with concerned people in the San Francisco Bay area, 
closer to your headquarters.  In the coming days, I will be notifying the other 
Free Burma organizations of Ross' sales of Burma-produced textiles by copy of 
this letter.  The only thing that binds these organizations is a commitment to 
halt U.S. investment in SLORC-controlled Burma, so it will be up to each group to 
respond as it sees fit.

In recent weeks, we have acquired more information pointing to a new round of 
crackdowns by the SLORC against pro-democracy activists in Burma.  We also have 
access to video footage of forced labor taken in January of 1996.  Time is of the 
essence in Burma, so please respond soon.


David Wolfberg, Director
Los Angeles Campaign for a Free Burma 

cc:	BurmaNet