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AP: Judge says law is unconstitutio

Subject: AP: Judge says law is unconstitutional

Judge says law is unconstitutional
Associated Press, 11/05/98 03:57

BOSTON (AP) - A federal judge has ruled the state's so-called ``Burma
Law,'' designed to show opposition to Burma's military regime, is

Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled Wednesday that the law
``impermissibly infringes on the federal government's power to regulate
foreign affairs.''

The 1996 law prohibits the state or its agencies from buying goods or
services from companies that do business with the military government of
Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Tauro's ruling came in a challenge to the law by the National Foreign Trade

The council, which represents 580 members, said more than 30 of them have
been prevented by the law from seeking contracts with the state.

``Chief Judge Tauro's ruling rests on clear constitutional grounds and
should significantly deter states and cities from imposing their own
foreign policy sanctions,'' said Frank Kittredge, council president.

An estimated 30 local governments around the country have similar laws.

``We share concerns over reported human rights abuses in Burma. However our
system of government was not designed to allow the 50 states and hundreds
of municipalities to conduct their own individual foreign policies,''
Kittredge said.

Burma's military regime has been accused of drug trafficking and widespread
human rights violations.

The European Commission and Japan challenged the Massachusetts law before a
World Trade Organization panel in Geneva.

They said the law deprived them of potential trade benefits.

But an international labor federation of 450 unions, which said they
represent more than 20 million workers around the world, asked the European
Community to stop opposing the law.

Officials with the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and
General Workers' Unions said last month they wrote to Sir Leon Britton,
vice president of the Commission of the European Communities.

The letter said the Burma government uses forced labor, child labor and
denies labor and human rights.

``Whatever the technicalities of the Commission's case at the WTO, global
public opinion will see its pursuance as implying EU support for one of the
world's most brutal and corrupt military dictatorships,'' the letter said.

In addition to showing opposition to the Burma regime, the Massachusetts
law was an attempt to encourage it to negotiate a peaceful transition to
representative government.

The National League for Democracy was a huge winner in Burma's election in
1990, but the military has not allowed parliament to meet.

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[comment from:]
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 15:03:19 -0500
Subject: NEWS- -Mass. Law on Burma Unconstitutional

NOTE: "...Clear Constitional Grounds..."   my FOOT !!!