Myanmar disappointed over ILO vote

snedeker snedeker at
Fri Nov 24 18:20:11 MST 2000

this article poses some important issues. does anyone know of a good study
of the uses  of forced  labor in the contemporary global
----- Original Message -----
From: Ulhas Joglekar <ulhasj at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Friday, November 24, 2000 7:56 PM
Subject: Myanmar disappointed over ILO vote

> Saturday
> 18 November 2000
> Myanmar disappointed over ILO vote
> YANGON: Myanmar expressed bitter disappointment on Friday over the
> International Labour Organisation's (ILO) decision to invite its members
> bring sanctions against the military regime, over the issue of forced
> labour.
> A senior spokesman for the junta said that efforts to stamp out the
> practice, and its willingness to cooperate with the ILO monitoring team
> which visited Yangon twice this year, had been ignored.
> "The ILO decision to activate measures against Myanmar proves that the ILO
> and, the governing body in particular, have already made up their minds
> don't want to be confused with any facts," he said.
> "They have turned a blind eye on the efforts, positive developments,
> cooperation and the political will the Myanmar government has taken, to be
> in accordance with the ILO convention (on) forced labour."
> The spokesman said "big and powerful nations" were using labour rights as
> pretext to coerce, pressurise and interfere in the domestic affairs" of
> poorer countries.
> The ILO had ordered Myanmar to comply with recommendations made by a 1998
> committee of inquiry, which found forced labour to be "widespread and
> systematic."
> Sanctions were recommended by the International Labour Conferencee in June
> but put on hold until the end of this month to give the junta time to take
> concrete action.
> The ILO team, which made a six-day mission to the country last month,
> the government had made progress in changing its laws to end the use of
> forced labour, but far less in putting legislative changes into practice.
> In the months preceding the ILO's decision, Myanmar's generals had
> they were extremely concerned about the action, which could lead to
> sanctions from its member states and organisations.
> It now remains to be seen what action will be taken against the regime,
> which is already labouring under wide-ranging international sanctions that
> have helped cripple the economy.
> Sources in Yangon said the junta was anxious to avoid trade union bans
> would see its agricultural exports turned away from ports around the
> particularly on the eastern seaboard of India.
> It is feared that any new trade bans would deal a mortal blow to the
> economy, which critics say is saved from complete collapse only by the
> thriving black market and profits from the drugs trade.
> Sources close to the negotiations between ILO team leader Francis Maupain
> and the government said the two sides developed a good working
> during the mission's visits.
> Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win told AFP last week that Myanmar was
> "hoping for the best but prepared for the worst" ahead of the ILO's vote,
> but nevertheless the decision has come as a great disappointment.
> The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) says nearly
> million people are currently subjected to forced labour in Myanmar.
> The Brussels-based organisation said this week it had also examined more
> than 400 labour requisition orders issued by members of the army and
> dozen witness statements since June.
> ICFTU's general secretary Bill Jordan has welcomed the ILO's "firm
> and said it "not only sends a strong signal to the generals in Rangoon but
> is also a message of hope for Burmese democrats and for the hundreds of
> thousands of victims of inhuman exploitation." (AFP)
> For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service
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