Fri 5 Aug 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
August 8: The ILO, and a Burmese labour organization, FTUB, were the main target of criticisms in a Burmese military sponsored “mass meeting” in Akyab, on July 30th.
The meeting, entitled “Guard Against Danger Posed by Destructionists Through United Strength of the People,” was attended by the members of six government organized non-government organizations (GONGOs) including members of the Rakhine State Union Solidarity and Development Association, Rakhine State Organization for Women?s Affairs, Maternal and Child Welfare Association, War Veterans Organization, the auxiliary fire brigade and the Red Cross Society.
While the government news reports state that about 1,000 people attended from all parts of Arakan State, a local source says that most members at these attendances close to the Junta. No ordinary citizen would attend the meeting of their own will, and it is far from being “mass”, as they call it.
The source also comments that the presentations and speeches are just carbon copies of “mass meetings” from other States and Divisions through out Burma.
In the speeches delivered by the senior office holders of the GONGOs, many exiled pro-democracy activists and organizations as well as overseas based media organizations were attacked. Among them, the ILO (International Labor Organization) and FTUB (Federation of Trade Unions of Burma) were particularly targeted. The members of the FTUB were named and accused of working against the country’s interests. They are being branded as stooges of the Western imperialists.
One Member of Rakhine State Women’s Affairs Organization Daw Thanda Min strongly criticized the ILO in the meeting and said “one-sided decisions of ILO inflicted sufferings on the people, including workers. According to the ILO’s decision in 2000, the export of the garments produced in Myanmar
was banned. As a result, 160 garment factories were closed down and 40 factories laid off their employees. Therefore, over 80,000 workers lost their jobs. Altogether 70,000 women were unemployed.”
She said the ILO had allowed Maung Maung (a) Pyithit Nyunt Wai of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), against whom action was taken by the government, to address the 93rd ILO conference in 2005, ignoring the entire population of Myanmar.
The speakers of the meeting also praised the junta’s construction projects and showed their support for the ‘Road Map’. However, there were no discussions on the continuous house arrest of the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi or the continuous price hikes and economic difficulties that people are facing currently in Arakan.
An Arakanese politician, who does not want to disclose his name, comments that the Burmese junta is ashamed to have to relinquish the ASEAN Chairmanship for 2006, and hence they are attacking the western countries, the exile movements and media organizations for being able to mobilize international pressure. The ILO has been one of the strongest critiques of
the junta and FTUB has been one of the most active exile organizations. That is why they are being particularly targeted.