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Mizzima: Workers Body welcomes Burm

Workers Body welcomes Burma Resolution as ILO sends ultimatum to the

New Delhi, June 15, 2000
Mizzima News Group (http://www.mizzima.com)

Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
today welcomes the resolution of the International Labour Organization
(ILO) on Burma that demands the ruling military generals comply with its
recommendation to put an end to forced labour, failing which the country
will be ostracized by the international community.

In a resolution adopted by the International Labour Conference yesterday
in Geneva, the ILO has given the Burma junta until November 30 to take
concrete measures and bring its legislation and practices into line with
the Conventions banning forced labour.

The resolution was adopted by 257 votes to 41 with 31 abstentions.
Government delegates from India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia,
Philippines and some other Asian countries voted against the resolution.
Interestingly, government delegates of Thailand with whom Burmese junta
has close relationship abstained in the voting.

The ILO, made up of all 174 member states, recommended to governments
and employers? and workers? organizations to review their relations with
Burma to ensure that they cannot in any way be used to perpetuate the
system of forced labour. The same appeal goes to international
institutions ? including the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank ? urging them to cease any activity which may have the effect of
tolerating or encouraging forced labour. It is the first time in the
history of the ILO that it has invoked article 33 of its constitution
providing such measures.

The ILO?s Burma resolution is seen as a compromise between Western
nations who wanted to see immediate action against the junta and some
Asian countries who did not want to apply any pressure on Rangoon.

Burma junta has strongly opposed the resolution and denounced it as
?unfair and unwarranted action?.

According to ICFTU which represents more than 120 million workers all
over the world, over 800, 000 Burmese are subject to forced labour daily
while any attempt to carry out trade union activity in the country is
savagely repressed by the ruling junta.