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ILO urges sanctions on Burmese junt

The Guardian (London)
November 18, 2000

ILO urges sanctions on Burmese junta

Peter Capella in Geneva

Burma adopted a threatening posture yesterday in response to a landmark 
decision by the International
Labour Organisation to urge that sanctions be adopted against the country 
because of its use of forced
labour. It is the first time in the ILO's 81-year history that it has taken 
this step.

The government in Rangoon declared in a statement that Thursday's decision 
would have a negative
impact on the very people it the ILO purports to protect.and serve'.

The 174 ILO members, from the private and public sectors, are being asked 
to review their relations'
with Burma's military rulers from next month. They have been asked to 
ensure that they in no way abet
its widespread use of forced labour.

The decision was approved by an overwhelming majority of the ILO's 
governments and trade unions,
and received the unanimous backing of its employers' associations.

This will give legal weight to international boycotts as well as more 
traditional government-sponsored

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions urged tour operators 
to cancel trips because
Burmese workers are being forced to develop its tourist infrastructure.

The move followed three years of ILO attempts to persuade Burma's military 
leaders to stop the
widespread and systematic' use of forced labour, during which workers have 
been raped, beaten and
physically abused by soldiers, and porters have been sent out to test 

A mission last month concluded that, while some legal changes had been 
made, the practice, often called
community service, had not stopped.