285th (November 2002) Session of the Governing Body
Item 4 on the Agenda
Developments concerning the question of the observance by the Government of
Chairperson's summary of the debate
The CHAIRPERSON - It has been a
rich debate with many contributions. Some may take a more optimistic and some a
more pessimistic view of progress. I think it was timely of the Government of
Subject to that understanding, it will be up to the Office to judge, when the preparatory work, which will have to be conducted through the Liaison Officer, is sufficiently advanced, for such a mission to be really fruitful. In this connection, and in reply to the Ambassador's comments, I would like to point out, as others have done, that to the extent that the object of the plan of action is the eradication of forced labour, the 1999 resolution adopted by the International Labour Conference, leaves wide discretion to the Director-General and to the Office as to the range and nature of technical cooperation projects that could be part of that plan. Indeed, it fits four square with what has been said by the Workers and some Government representatives, that the resolution seeks to ensure that technical assistance given to the Government of Myanmar is indeed for the task of eradicating forced labour and as that in fact, is what is being sought by Governments, including the Government of Myanmar, I think we are all talking the same language and taking the same path.
The differences are between those who believe that we should have gone more speedily up to now and those who think we have made sufficient progress to consider removal of the Article 33 measures. This issue is not for this Governing Body. It would be for consideration in March next year, but I echo the points made. So often we have seen progress made, if it is made at all, only just before meetings of this Governing Body, which makes it very, very difficult for the Governing Body itself to make an assessment of the impact of such changes. I believe that to the extent that it has been recognized by the Government of Myanmar and in the statements of the Ambassador, the commitment of the Government is to take the words and, with the Office's assistance, convert them to concrete action so that we can see for ourselves that the forced labour situation is materially changing. This will be a day that we all hope we can get to as quickly as possible. I would hope that summing up reflects the sentiments of all persons in this hall, from Government, Worker and Employer benches, and I would hope it keeps us on the consensus road to a task we all want to achieve, which is the eradication of forced labour in the country of Myanmar and I hope that this is a point of summing up that has general support.