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Mizzima: Dissidents plan global pro

Dissidents plan global protest against forced labour in Burma

New Delhi, November 9, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

Burmese dissidents around the world are planning for a global action at
the end of this month to highlight the on-going practice of forced
labour in Burma by the military regime. The exiled activists in
Australia, Japan, Thailand and India plan to hold protests and rallies
in front of Burmese embassies in their respective countries on November
30. They have urged their counterparts in other countries to join in on
this action day to step up pressure on the Burmese government.

?We will organize pickets in front of Burmese embassy in Australia on
November 30 onwards. It will be an indefinite protest, joined by
Australian trade unions and activists?, said Maung Maung Than, a member
of Free Burma Action Committee, which initiates the action call.

The activists have urged the International Labour Organization (ILO) and
international community to take swift punitive actions against the
Burmese junta for failing to curb forced labour in Burma.

The ILO gave an ultimatum to the regime in June this year to comply with
its recommendations to eliminate forced labour in the country by
November 30. The ILO?s governing body is at present meeting in Geneva to
decide how far Burmese regime has done in complying with the

On Tuesday, Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win told AFP that
his government had issued a directive on November 1 banning forced
labour in the country. ?The order has been posted in every police
station in the country,? said Khin Maung Win.

Burmese activists, however, said that the government?s directive lacks
the necessary specifics and it will not have any immediate effect on the
widespread forced labour, which is being carried out by the military
officers in the village and township levels, particularly in the border
areas of the country.