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International - Burma


Burma: End Trade and Investment

UNISON is calling for the end to development of hotels, transport and tourist attractions to encourage visitors to Burma because it is directly linked to mass human rights abuses.

This is one of the reasons that UNISON, a member of the Sanctions Colation, is campaigning for an end to trade and investment in Burma.

Emergency Motion

2 June: Aung San Suu Kyi, has been arrested again by the 'junta', heralding a sinsiter new crisis in the country. UNISONScotland has already called for Suu Kyi to be given honorary UNISON membership to raise the profile of human rights abuses in Burma, and UNISON's Edinburgh Branch is planning an emergency motion to Conference. UNISON already has a campaign backing scantions against Burma including tourism.


The situation in Burma

Burma's military regime, the Junta, has received worldwide condemnation as one of the worst violators of human rights. The brutal dictatorship is responsible for forced labour, child labour, trafficking in prostitution, the imprisonment of political prisoners and for the world's largest producer of illegal Opium.

Military spending soaks up at least 40% of Burma's estimated public sector spending. Social services in Burma, including the country's health and educational systems, have suffered under 36 years of military dictatorship.

Medicine and water supplies are running dry. Poverty is such in Burma that one in ten babies die before their first birthday and almost a half of the population are HIV positive. The closure of universities has resulted in a generation losing their right to education.

Burma's military rulers have forced millions of men, women and children into slave labour. According to estimates of the UN, there are 50,000 child soldiers in Burma, more than any other country.

At least 1,800 political prisoners, many of them supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi, remain detained, and many of whom are routinely tortured.


Honorary Life Membership of UNISON for Aung San Suu Kyi

This motion was passed by UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch and UNISON Scottish Council and is submitted to National Conference.

Conference congratulates UNISON for its support for the Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) and in particular for its ongoing campaign within the labour and trade union movement to pressurise international governments to impose investment sanctions on Burma.

For nearly 40 years Burma has been controlled by a military regime which has been condemned as one of the worst violators of human rights. The democratically elected President of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, has only recently been released from house arrest and remains unable to take up her role as leader of her country. She has called for support from organisations such as independent trade unions to highlight the plight of her people.

Conference calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be made an honorary life member of UNISON and for branches to press local authorities and Regional governments in their geographical areas to award her with freedom of the city, county or nation.

Such initiatives would raise the profile of Burmese issues which have too often slipped down the international agenda.

We call upon UNISON to

1 embark on an awareness raising campaign within the membership

2 advise members on how they can support the work of BCUK at a local level

3 explore options for directly supporting some of the innovative international programmes which seek to provide educational opportunities for Burmese refugees

4 explore options in conjunction with the Federation of Trade Unions Burma for providing internships for refugees who are seeking experience of collective bargaining, globalisation, advocacy and representation

5 work within the labour and trade union movement at a national and international level on solidarity actions with the Federation of Trade Unions Burma

6 explore options for high profile awareness raising / fundraising events organised in conjunction with BCUK.



Aung San Suu Kyi anniversary

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democratic leader, is marking the year anniversary of her release from house arrest with a month-long tour of her troubled country.

A spokesman for her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), said the main aim of the journey was to meet ethnic minority groups in Burma's north-eastern province of Kachlin. But the trip will also serve to highlight concern that Burma's military rulers are still stalling over political reform.

Suu Kyi claims that the government has hampered her efforts to revive her party and has refused to engage in dialogue. "

When I was released, it was agreed between the authorities and ourselves that ... we should go on to a more advanced stage of our relationship," she said recently.

"But I do not think there has been any progress. In fact, I think there has been some kind of regression".

Burma's military regime, the junta, has received worldwide condemnation as one of the worst violators of human rights. The brutal dictatorship is responsible for forced labour, child labour, trafficking in prostitution, the imprisonment of political prisoners and for the world's largest producer of illegal Opium.

The military regime points to the recent release of political prisoners as proof that they are making efforts to reform. But the UN estimates more than 1,000 political prisoners remain behind bars and says the junta is only releasing people it regards as posing a minimal threat to the regime.

Together with other unions worldwide, UNISON is calling for an end to trade and investment in Burma, in the hope that it may force a return to democracy.

Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero General Aung San, has been put under house arrest three times. She was awarded the Nobel peace Prize in 1991



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Burma Campaign
The Burma Campaign website

lone;y planet
Link to Burma Campaign
Lonely Planet campaign

UNISON UK Burma Pages

Federation of Trade Unions - Burma