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Mizzima: Trade unions call for soli

Trade unions call for solidarity to increase pressure on Burma junta

New Delhi, October 31, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has called
for solidarity to help ensure that the International Labour Organization
(ILO) takes swift action against the military junta in Burma for failing
to eliminate forced labour in the country.

According to a press release issued at Brussels today, the international
workers body issued an appeal last week to its members and partners to
step up pressure against the Burmese junta, saying that the time has
come for Rangoon to take international warnings seriously.

The actions proposed by ICFTU include lobbying governments prior to the
ILO Governing Body's meeting which will start on November 2 in Geneva,
organising protests in front of Burmese embassies, stepping up pressure
on the Burmese regime by disrupting the supply of essential services to
the Burmese embassies worldwide, and flooding with faxed protest letters
and sending protest messages to the Burmese junta?s official website
against forced labour in Burma.

It has accused that over 800, 000 Burmese are subjected to forced labour
daily in Burma. The junta has been, however, consistently denying the
practices of forced labour in the country.

Last June, the ILO adopted a resolution on Burma, demanding the military
junta to comply with its recommendations to put an end to forced labour
in the country. The ILO has given the junta until November 30 this year
to take concrete measures and bring its legislation and practices into
line with the Conventions banning forced labour or face international

A five-member ILO technical cooperation mission recently visited Burma
from 20 to 26 October to check whether Burma is complying with ILO
recommendations or not. In today press release, the ICFTU said that the
use of forced labour is still common in Burma.

The Governing Body of the ILO is meeting in Geneva from November 2
onwards over the next two weeks to decide whether or not to put into
action the June Resolution on Burma. If the ILO meeting decides that no
clear framework has been adopted by the military junta, it is likely to
take strong punitive measures against the junta, including calls for UN
agencies, governments, employers and other parties concerned "to review
relations with Burma and cease any relations or co-operation" with the
regime which might have the effect of encouraging forced labour in the

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) represents
more than 120 million workers all over the world.