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Press Release (ICFTU-APRO)

International Confederation of Trade Unions
Asian and Pacific Regional Organisation
Trade Union House 3rd Floor Sbenton Way Singapore 068810
Tel: (65) 222 6294    Fax: (65) 221 7380

President: Ken G. Douglas		General Secretary: T. Izumi

Press Release

A conference organised by the International Trade Union movement titled
"democracy for Burma" which was to have been held in Bangkok, Thailand from
24 to 26 May 1999 has been made postponed due to the refusal, at the
eleventh hour, by Thai authorities for permission for it to proceed. The
conference was to have been attended by some 130 participants from wide
range of countries both inside and outside Asia. Further, it has to be
noted that the Thai Government has refused to grant entry visa to Mr. Sein
Win (typist corrected the name), Prime Minister in exile of the union of
Burma, to attend this conference.

It is a sad reflection on the so called sovereignty of Thailand that they
have bowed to the military junta in Burma in this instance and to the
widely publicised deplorable human rights record of that country.
International trade union movement has to take serious note of Thai Deputy
Prime Minister Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi's candidacy for Secretary general
post of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

The ICFTU takes strong exception that it is banned from holding this
conference. At the ASEAN countries and the European Union will be meeting
has been approved, yet at the same time, the ICFTU, which has consultative
status A with United Nations, is unable to discuss the matter of democracy
in one of the UN member states.

The military junta in Burma continues to use countries such as Thailand,
who have neither the courage nor the principle to stand-up and recognise
right from wrong, to advance their standing in the international community.
It is time that Thailand, and the other ASEAN countries for that matter,
stopped pretending that the human rights abuses in Burma do not exist and
stood up as country, and as a region, that was not prepared to turn a blind
eye to abuse and wrongs, but were prepared to genuinely advance and promote
issues of democracy and human rights.

Takashi Izumi
General Secretary
21 May '99