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A major step towards imposing punitive sanctions on Burma
(Myanmar)was taken by the International Labour Conference
(ILC) this evening. At the end of a heated 5-hour debate
starting at 6pm on Friday 9 June, with breaks for
consultation, the ILC Selection Committee voted
overwhelmingly*  in favour of a  resolution proposing a
number of sanctions against Burma (Myanmar) for non-
compliance with her obligations  under ILO Convention
No. 29 on forced labour.

The sanctions would take effect from 30 November 2000
unless, before that date, the ILO Governing Body is satisfied
that the recommendations of the ILO Commission of Inquiry
into forced labour in Burma have been fulfilled.

The draft resolution (see full text below) will now be
submitted to the Conference plenary for discussion and
action (towards the end of next week)

* For the resolution: 33; Against: 4; Abstentions: 3



88th Session, Geneva, June 2000




The International Labour Conference,

Meeting at its 88th Session in Geneva from 30 May to
15 June 2000,

Considering the proposals by the Governing Body which
are before it, under the eighth item of its agenda
(Provisional Record No. 4), with a view to the adoption,
under article 33 of the ILO Constitution, of action to
secure compliance with the recommendations of the Commission
of Inquiry established to examine the observance by Myanmar
of its obligations in respect of the Forced Labour Convention,
1930 (No. 29),

         Having taken note of the additional information contained
in the report of the ILO technical cooperation mission sent to
Yangon from 23 to 27 May 2000 (Provisional Record No. 8) and,
in particular, of the letter dated 27 May 2000 from the Minister
of Labour to the Director-General, which resulted from the mission,

         Considering that, while this letter contains aspects which
seem to reflect a welcome intention on the part of the Myanmar
authorities to take measures to give effect to the recommendations
of the Commission of Inquiry, the factual situation on which the
recommendations of the Governing Body were based has nevertheless
remained unchanged to date,

         Believing that the Conference cannot, without failing in its
responsibilities to the workers subjected to various forms of forced
or compulsory labour, abstain from the immediate application of the
measures recommended by the Governing Body unless the Myanmar
authorities promptly take concrete action to adopt the necessary
framework for implementing the Commission of  Inquiry's
recommendations, thereby ensuring that the situation of the said
workers will be remedied more expeditiously and under more
satisfactory conditions for all concerned;

1. Approves in principle, subject to the conditions stated
in paragraph 2 below, the actions recommended by the Governing
Body, namely:

         (a)     to decide that the question of the implementation
of the Commission of Inquiry's recommendations and of the
application of Convention No. 29 by Myanmar should be discussed
at future sessions of the International Labour Conference, at a
sitting of the Committee on the Application of Standards specially
set aside for the purpose, so long as this Member has not been shown
to have fulfilled its obligations;

(b)     to recommend to the Organization's constituents as a whole -
governments, employers and workers - that they: (i) review,
in the light of the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry,
the relations that they may have with the member State concerned
and take appropriate measures to ensure that the said Member
cannot take advantage of such relations to perpetuate or extend
the system of forced or compulsory labour referred to by the
Commission of Inquiry, and to contribute as far as possible to
the implementation of its recommendations; and (ii) report back
in due course and at appropriate intervals to the Governing Body;

         (c)     as regards international organizations, to invite the
Director-General: (i) to inform the international organizations
referred to in article 12, paragraph 1, of the Constitution of
the Member's failure to comply; (ii) to call on the relevant
bodies of these organizations to reconsider, within their terms
of reference and in the light of the conclusions of the Commission
of Inquiry, any cooperation they may be engaged in with the Member
concerned and, if appropriate, to cease as soon as possible any
activity that could have the effect of directly or indirectly
abetting the practice of forced or compulsory labour;

         (d)     regarding the United Nations specifically, to invite
the Director-General to request the Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) to place an item on the agenda of its July 2001 session
concerning the failure of Myanmar to implement the recommendations
contained in the report of the Commission of Inquiry and seeking
the adoption of recommendations directed by ECOSOC or by the General
Assembly, or by both, to governments and to other specialized
agencies and including requests similar to those proposed in
paragraphs (b) and (c) above;

         (e)     to invite the Director-General to submit to the
Governing Body, in the appropriate manner and at suitable
intervals, a periodic report on the outcome of the measures
set out in paragraphs (c) and (d) above, and to inform the
international organizations concerned of any developments
in the implementation by Myanmar of the recommendations of
the Commission of Inquiry.

2.      Decides that those measures will take effect on 30
November 2000 unless, before that date, the Governing Body
is satisfied that the intentions expressed by the Minister
of Labour of Myanmar in his letter dated 27 May have been
translated into a framework of legislative, executive and
administrative measures that are sufficiently concrete and
detailed to demonstrate that the recommendations of the
Commission of Inquiry have been fulfilled and therefore
render the implementation of one or more of these measures

3.      Authorizes the Director-General to respond positively to
all requests by Myanmar that are made with the sole purpose
of establishing, before the above deadline, the framework
mentioned in the conclusions of the ILO technical cooperation
mission (points (i), (ii) and (iii), page 8/11 of Provisional
Record No. 8), supported by a sustained ILO presence on the spot,
if the Governing Body confirms that the conditions are met for
such presence to be truly useful and effective.