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Conference on Democratic Trade Unio

Subject: Conference on Democratic Trade Union and Other Human Rights

Conference on Democratic Trade Union and Other Human Rights in Burma A 
Joint conference by:


9-11 October 1995, Manila Midtown Hotel, Manila, Philippines

The international trade union conference on Democratic, Trade Union and 
Other Human Rights in Burma meeting in Manila, Philippines, on 9-11 
October 1995.

Noting the unanimous finding by the worlds' trade union, employer and 
government representatives within the International Labor Organization 
that the Burmese regime has flagrantly violated basic ILO Conventions on 
freedom of association and the prohibition of forced labor;

Recalling that gross violations of human rights in Burma leading up to 
and since the bloodthirsty coup of 18 September 1988 by military junta, 
now calling itself the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), 
have prompted the United Nations to established and continue the 
operation of a Special Rapporteur to investigate such violations and to 
recommend measures to promote the establishment of democratic and other 
human rights;

Noting that the operation of the Special Rapporteur and the deliberations 
of the United Nations General Assembly have not convinced the SLORC to 
return the country to elected government;

Noting also that the Special Rapporteur has recorded that the nationwide 
demonstrations in Burma leading up to the events of 1988 "began in 
reaction to the suppression of all civil and political rights since the 
overthrow of the constitutional government in 1962 and to the economic 
failure as a consequence of the (military's) policy........ From March to 
June 1988, students, workers and monks demonstrated for more freedom and 
democracy, but the army used harsh measures to crush the demonstrations. 
Hundred of civilians were summarily or arbitrarily executed;

Future noting that the Special Rapporteur record that after resignation 
of the military dictator General Ne Win on 23 July 1988, with the promise 
of a referendum to end on-party ruled and institute a multi-party system, 
demonstration continued, and the army and police attacked the 
demonstrators. It was reported that approximately 3,000 persons were 
killed in August 1988 alone.


of the continued persecution by SLORC all and any opposition to its 
activities including the house arrest without trail of Daw Aung San Suu 
Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (detained 20 
July 1989 to July 1995);

of the arrest, jail and often torture which SLORC has inflicted on its 
opponents, including workers, students and many of those were elected in 
the general elections held on 27 May 1990;

the these elections were won by the National League for Democracy (NLD) 
which gained 81% of the seats (392 seats out of 485 total);

that many pro-democracy activities, including workers, politicians and 
academics have been forced into exile to escape persecution and to 
continue their struggle the SLORC and establish democratic, trade union;

that, despite the ban on genuine trade union organizing, the Federation 
of Trade Unions, Burma, and its associates inside and outside the 
country, have been successful in organizing some trade unions in Burma, 
and are pursuing their training work;

that, in its statement of 6 October 1995, provided to this conference, 
the National Coalition government of the Union of Burma pledges that, 
when democracy is restored in Burma, the new democratic government will 
"move immediately to ratify and enforce" the ILO Convention on freedom of 
association, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labor, protection 
of workers' representatives and minimum working age (Conventions 29, 87, 
98, 105, 135 and 138);

that the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma has also 
pledged to ratify and implement ILO Convention 151 on the trade union 
rights of public service employees;

that the SLORC has sought to justify clinging to power under the false of 
its being the only way to ensure national unity;

that the SLORC's "open door investment policy" has been seen by some 
business as an opportunity to make profit without any reasonable 
responsibility, and by some government as sufficient reason to promote 
so-called "constructive engagement";

that despite the alleged economic growth under the SLORC, it is reliably 
estimated by those involved in providing humanitarian support that there 
is an increasing incidence of mother and infant morality, decline in 
sanitation and clean water facilities, and an increase in the educational 
drop-out rate even at primary school levels, that academic achievement at 
primary levels is being reduced by substandard nutrition caused by the 
SLORC's action; and that education at the tertiary level appears to be 
declining also, with the university teaching year being reduced to only 
four months per year; that many people have been forced to flee Burma as 
a result of SLORC policies, particularly against ethnic groups;

that when Burmese workers are remunerated at all, a common monthly wage 
rate is 800 kyat - the equivalent, at the affective exchange rate, of 6 
(six) US dollar a month;

that the SLORC  has used the revenue from joint venture with 
multinational corporation to further repress the  majority of the people, 
especially the ethnic groups whose lands the SLORC is exploiting without 
any genuine consultation or agreements and without satisfactory return to 
the people;

that the ability of the SLORC to repress the people of Burma and many 
senior army officials to increase their own power and financial gain has 
been directly advanced by the policy of "constructive engagement" pursued 
by some government, which have encouraged business with the SLORC and 
have supplied it with large quantities of weapons and other military 
equipment for purposes of internal repression;

that most foreign investment in Burma has the effect of assisting SLORC 
repression of the people, by providing the military with hard currency;

that the most significant of these investments are in the exploitation of 
Burma's natural oil and gas and in the hotel and tourism sectors;

that persistent reports suggest that forced labour has been used in the 
initial stages of regime's joint venture with multinational companies in 
these sectors;

that the number of multinational companies have withdrawn from Burma for 
ethical reasons, notably the clothing manufacturer Levi's, which declared 
that "under current circumstances, it is not possible to do business in 
Myanmar (Burma) without directly supporting the military government and 
pervasive violations of human rights";

calls upon the international trade union movement to;

- 	recognize the Federation of Trade Unions, Burma (FTUB) as the 
sole free voice of Burma Labour and the National Coalition Government of 
the Union of Burma as the legitimate government of the country, and to 
press the international community to afford the same recognition;

-	establish an international trade union action group on Burma, 
with the mandate to coordinate solidarity with, and assistance to, the 
Burmese trade unions;

-	provide the necessary resources for such solidarity and assistance;

-	press for withdrawal of all foreign investment and official 
development assistance (ODA) from Burma until legitimate democratic 
government is restored, forced labour is abolished, all political 
prisoners are freed and independent trade unions are recognized;

-	press all governments to institute comprehensive economic 
sanction against the SLORC and to include this demand in UN General 
Assembly resolutions on Burma;

-	press ASEAN to refuse membership to Burma until legitimate 
democratic government is restored, forced labour is abolished, all 
political prisoners are freed and independent trade unions are recognized;

-	press the United Nations to commence activities in Burma designed 
to ensure compliance with the provision of the Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights, in consultation with the National League for Democracy (NLD);

-	press the ILO economic activities in Burma designed to ensure 
compliance with the basic ILO Conventions protecting trade union rights, 
in consultation with the ILO Workers' Group and the Federation of Trade 
Unions, Burma;

-	press the World Bank not to renew loans to Burma until democratic 
government is restored;

-	inform the rank-and-file trade union membership worldwide of the 
situation in Burma, notably the used of forced labour on the construction 
of tourist infrastructure, and expose SLORC's abuse of tourism as means 
of seeking spurious legitimacy.

This conference declares that, by successfully fighting the abuses in 
Burma as a "worst case", the international trade union movement will also 
send an important signal to repressive and anti-trade union governments