Federation of Trade Unions – Burma

Responsibilities & Rights

International Contact

Burma Office - Japan 101-0062 3F, Sohyo Kaikan 3-2-11, Kanda-Surugadai Chiyoda-Ku Tokyo Japan Tel: 81 3 5296 3010 Fax: 81 3 5296 7903

Forced Labor, Prison Labor, Narcotics, Money laundering still taking place Not yet time to reinstatement GSP on Burma
On 14 April 1989, the US Government suspended Burma's eligibility for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) because of Burmese violations of internationally recognized workers rightsi. On 25 March 1997, after an EU-sponsored study asserted the existence of 800,000 forced workers, accounting for 10 percent of the country's total output, the EU's foreign ministers vote to revoke Burma's GSP benefitsii. The EU withdrew Burma/Myanmar’s GSP privileges in 1997 because of forced labour practices and excluded Burma/Myanmar from the "Everything-But-Arms” scheme for least developed countries which was initiated in 2001iii. On 28 July 1997, Canada removed Burma's GSP benefits citing the lack of progress toward democracy in Burmaiv. The European Union's GSP envisions suspension in the following cases: • Practice of any form of forced labour • Export of goods made by prison labour • Inadequate controls on the export or transit of drugs (illicit substances) or of money laundering. There is ample evidence that each of these practices applies to Myanmar. However, the withdrawal of GSP is not automatic, but subject to a political assessment. Other countries have taken the lead. Thus, since 1991 the US government has not granted GSP preferences to imports of Burmese origin and has declined to renew its bilateral textile and garment trade agreementv. FTUB would like to point out that Forced Labor still takes place within Burma in spite of the support for eradication by the ILO, the ILO Liaison Office and the repeated resolutions at the International Labor Organization. Prison labor still exists in the worst forms of military porters and the issues of money laundering are still under probe by the US governmentvi. Also recently, the head of the US State departments' counter-narcotics program warned that the opium production was expanding in Myanmarvii. FTUB hears of a Labor Law being discussed but a law drawn up while Mayday activist Thurein Aung and colleagues are still in jail does not meet the requirements for the ILO Convention (87) on the Freedom of Association. Forced Labor, Prison labor porters still taking place in the areas of the ethnic nationalities where the Tatmadaw is attacking also


contradicts the core ILO Convention (29) on Forced Labor. Orders 2/88 and 6/88, as well as the Unlawful Association Act and the Declaration 1/2006 are still in place and practiced viii. Representatives need to make clear on the steps to ensure that the constitutional and legislative framework effectively prohibit the exaction of forced labor in all forms. Only after the change in law has been achived can the reinstatment of GSP be discussed. The Labor Law must cover these issues and the representatives must work on changing of these approaches. A law for Labor is supposed to be remedy for the workers, not just for evading the COI on the denial of Freedom of Association at the coming November ILO Governing Body. If the respect and trust of the people and the international community is the objective, the participating representatives must study the relevant issues, discuss on remedies and solutions and amend the laws as needed. The parliament is the only place where laws are amended. Unless Forced Labor is eradicated, Prison labor is stopped, the production and sales of narcotics and money laundering is stopped through changes in the governing system through amendment of laws in the parliament, FTUB states that it is not time to reinstate the GSP on Burma. Contact: Maung Maung Dr. Zaw Win Aung 1 202 352 7884 91-9871578569 



http://www.iie.com/research/topics/sanctions/myanmar3.cfm THE EC-BURMA/MYANMAR STRATEGY PAPER(2007-2013) http://www.iie.com/research/topics/sanctions/myanmar3.cfm The Burmese Economy and the Withdrawal of European Trade Preferences by Stefan Collignon US probes Transocean over ties to Burmaes drug lorda - Mizzima 2010 Aug 16 US warns of rise in Myanmar opium produtcion - Reuters 2011 September 15. 2011 June 4 Special Sitting on Myanmar of the Committee of the Application of Standards

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