[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Burma at the ILO Governing Body, ro
- Subject: Burma at the ILO Governing Body, ro
- From: darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 17:36:00
Agence France Presse
November 14, 2001
Myanmar says forced labour probe a "delicate and subtle" issue
Myanmar appealed on Wednesday to the International Labour
Organisation (ILO) to lift
sanctions against it but said it could not accept a permanent
presence to monitor forced
Myanmar's ambassador, Mya Than, said at the beginning of a debate on
report on forced labour in the country commissioned by the ILO that
the authorities were
"not in a position to receive a permanent presence" of an ILO office
"As a first step Myanmar is willing to receive visits of an ILO
team," Mya Than added.
"In such delicate and subtle issues it has to be done step-by-step,"
he told delegates
from governments, employers and labour organisations at the ILO's
The report found that forced labour was continuing, especially in a
areas with a heavy
military presence, and that legislation introduced by the ruling
military junta last year had
had a limited practical impact.
Mya Than told the ILO that Myanmar had reservations on some
unspecified points in the
report but overall he welcomed it as a "significant event in our
He added that "the report is fairly balanced, it recognises the
political will to eradicate
forced labour that has been expressed in Myanmar," and called on the
ILO "to review and
lift measures" imposed on Myanmar during its next assembly in June 2002.
The four independent experts on the team that prepared the report
presented to the
governing body on Wednesday are advocating a permanent ILO presence
amongst their recommendations.
"In all areas for which the High Level Team had information it was
apparent that there
was strong correlation between the presence of military camps and the
forced labour whether or not those troops were engaged in military
activities," the report
The team's three week ILO mission to the country followed the ILO's
censure of Myanmar last year, when it threatened to impose more
sanctions on the
country if it failed to curb forced labour.
Added Comments from our correspondent who was there.
This debatelet was just the warm-up. The main bout is set for tomorrow
The AFP headline is a bit off -- it's the prospect of a permanent ILO
presence in the country that was the "delicate and subtle" issue rather
than the "probe". U Mya Than did not rule out the possibility, but said
that like the negotiations with the ICRC from 1995 to 1998, such a presence
would have to be done "step by step". He said that his government would be
willing to give full access, as they had to the High-level Team (HLT), to
an ILO presence based in Geneva or Bangkok. He stressed the convenience of
Bangkok -- 1 hour flight to Rangoon and access to the Thai-Burma Border.
He didn't actually ask the Governing Body to lift the "sanctions" but to
put Myanmar on the agenda for the 2002 International Labour Conference so
it might "review the measures" [which the ILC had imposed in June 2000].
There were a few questions from the worker and employer delegates (no
governments spoke), but the main focus was on prospects for an ILO
presence. Burma's reluctance is likely to embarrass ASEAN, but it seems
there's a story going round that China is encouraging the SPDC to dig its
heels in. Now why would that be?
Online Burma Library -- www.burmalibrary.org
Annotated and classified links to thousands of full-text documents on