Myanmar/ Burma – Lifting of restrictions on Burma’s full participation in the activities of the International Labor Organization (June 14, 2012)
France welcomes the decision taken yesterday by the International Labor Conference to lift the restrictions on Burma’s full participation in its activities. These restrictions had been in force since 1999 due to the widespread use of forced labor.
This decision, which France supported, will allow Burma to become fully involved in the work of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the implementation of cooperation programs in support of the ongoing economic, political and social development of the country. The ILO recently sent an initial assessment mission to Burma which carried out excellent work there.
The lifting of restrictions has been made possible thanks to the progress achieved over the past year by Burma, under the leadership of President Thein Sein, in the area of social rights. This is notably reflected by the adoption of laws recognizing the right to belong to a trade union and the right to strike, as well as the agreement between the Burmese government and the ILO signed in January 2012 on the complete elimination of forced labor by 2015.
It’s in this context, and as a symbol of the progress that has been made, that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is due to due to speak today in Geneva at the closing session of the International Labor Conference.
Burma must now ensure the strict implementation of the new legislation, notably with respect to the right to belong to a trade union, and its commitments relating to forced labor. France urges Burma to continue on the path it has embarked upon by ratifying the major ILO conventions and by taking strong measures to combat child labor.
More generally, France calls on Burma to address the outstanding issues, notably the situation of ethnic minorities and the detention of a certain number of political prisoners.