Three years after the Coup: EU’s Actions for Freedom and Dignity in Myanmar

February 1st marked the sad third anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. Since then, thousands of activists and trade unionists have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, killed, and exposed to “abuses that amount to crimes against humanity” (Human Rights World Report 2023). Women trade union leaders have been exposed to particularly violent treatment on the part of the security apparatus, including sexual violence (ILO, Towards Freedom and Dignity in Myanmar, 2023). 

Last summer, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Myanmar issued its report on the non-observance of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention (C87) and the Forced Labour Convention (C29). Both Conventions had been ratified in 1955. The COI confirms the continuous violation of fundamental labour rights: Freedom of Association cannot be freely exercised in Myanmar and there has been “continuing systematic and widespread use of forced labour in the context of military activities, including as porters, guides and human shields, as well as for cultivation, construction and maintenance of military camps or installations, and the provision of transport, accommodation, food and domestic work” (COI Report)

The EU and its Member States have committed to the respect, the protection, and the fulfilment of human rights, including labour rights. At the same time, they have been promoting the ratification and the implementation of the fundamental ILO Conventions.  

Therefore, in the current dramatic context in Myanmar, SOLIDAR calls on the EU to be true to its values and international commitments and  

  1. Support the findings and conclusions of the ILO Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on ILO C87 on freedom of association and C29 on forced labour conventions;   
  1. Initiate the withdrawal of the EBA preferential benefits to Myanmar and cease the EU-funded industrial relations programs such as MADE IN MYANMAR until democratic institutions have been restored in Myanmar

Three years after the Coup: EU’s Actions for Freedom and Dignity in Myanmar

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