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PRESS RELEASE - Global Action Again

May 4, 2001
Canberra, New Delhi, Edmonton

Global Action Against the Burmese Junta

Burma's pro-democracy activists and their supporters today launched a Global Action against the Burmese military regime for its widespread human rights violations including the use of forced labor in the country. Protest rallies and demonstrations were held in Australia and India while talks and video shows on Burma's human rights records were organized in Canada.

In Australia, a demonstration was held in front of Burmese embassy in Canberra and the Burma pro-democracy activists in India held a similar protest rally in New Delhi today. A panel discussion on "Burma and forced labor" and public rally was held at Edmonton in Canada. 

The Global Action focusing on the rampant human rights violations in Burma was endorsed by more than 25 national organizations based in Australia, Canada and India. (The list attached)

It has been eleven years that the people of Burma voted for the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi but the regime refuses to hand over power to the elected parliamentarians. More than 1,500 people remain imprisoned for political reasons and at least 34 Members of Parliament still remain in prison. Another 36 MPs have been detained without trial in so-called "government guesthouses" since 1998. Amnesty International says that torture is "a veritable institution" in Burma. Despite the strong actions taken by the world's labor body, International Labor Organization (ILO), the Burmese military continues to use forced labor systematically in a large scale. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has urged that national and multinational companies trading with and/or investing in Burma should withdraw as a matter of urgency because "it is impossible to maintain business relations with Burma without directly or indirectly supporting forced labor in Burma". 
We demand the Burmese junta:

1.	To free all the political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Ko Naing,
2.	To recognize the people's verdict of the 1990 elections and hand over power to NLD,
3.	To end human rights violations including the use of forced labor,
4.	To stop all the military hostilities in the country and 
5.	To make the process of "secret talks" with the Burmese democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi more transparent to the public.

We urge the governments and non-governmental organizations around the world to continue to pressure the Burmese regime towards democratization in Burma and to implement the ILO's Burma resolution on forced labor.
For further information: 

Maung Maung Than (Free Burma Action Committee)
Phone: +61-2-96435646, Mobile: 0411337816 (Australia)
Email. freeburma9999@xxxxxxxxxxx, www.actionfreeburma.com

Jeremy Pyner (Australian Capital Territory - Trades and Labor Council)
Mobile Phone: 0407065254 (Australia)	

Nyi Nyi Lwin (All Burma Students League)
Phone: +91-11-3017172/ 5511076 (India), Email. abslhq1@xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Khin Saw Win (Burma Watch International)
Phone: +780-4397555 (Edmonton, Canada), Email. khin_s_w@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jack Freebury (Burma Watch International) 
Tel: +780-4840325 (Edmonton, Canada), Email : freebury@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The following organizations endorsed the Action.

AID/WATCH (Australia)
The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign (Australia)
Australian Council For Overseas Aid - ACFOA (Australia)
Burma Labour Solidarity Orgnisation (Mae Sot, Thailand)
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network - AFTINet. (Australia)
Australian Services Union - ASU (Services) Branch (Australia)
International Socialist Organisation
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union - AMWU (Australia)
Communist Party of Australia - CPA (Australia)
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union - CFMEU (Australia)
Finance Sector Union - FSU (Australia)
Flight Attendants' Association of Australia - FAAA (Australia)
The Maritime Union of Australia - MUA (Australia)
All Burma Students League (India)
Mineral Policy Institute (Australia)
National Union of Students (Australia)
Burma Watch International (a society for human rights - Edmonton, Canada)
NSW Greens (Australia)
Social Education and Research Concerning Humanity - SEARCH Foundation 
The Students' Association at UTS (Australia)
SPANNR - Sydney People Against a New Nuclear Reactor 
Students Representative Council - University of Wollongong (Australia)
Democratic Socialist Party (Australia)
Student Representative Council of Macquarie University (Australia)
Sydney University SRC (Australia)
Free Burma Action Committee (Australia)

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