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AFP-Myanmar lashes West for ILO exp
- Subject: AFP-Myanmar lashes West for ILO exp
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 11:03:00
Subject: AFP-Myanmar lashes West for ILO expulsion
Myanmar lashes West for ILO expulsion
YANGON, June 17 (AFP) - Myanmar reacted furiously to its de-facto expulsion
from the International Labour Organisation Thursday, accusing the West of
using "biased" reports of forced labour as an excuse to intervene in its
In an angry statement, the foreign ministry described the ILO move as a
"deplorable and unscrupulous" action by countries who wanted to "interfere
and meddle in the internal affairs of Myanmar."
"It is most regrettable that such an august assembly like the ILO should
fall victim to the machinations and political tricks of Western nations
particularly Britain," it said.
"It demonstrates the complete disregard of these countries to the rules and
procedures of the international organisations as well as the dignity of
these international fora."
ILO delegates voted in an unprecedented move Thursday to de-facto expel
Myanmar, accusing it of the widespread use of forced labour.
"This is as isolated as a country can get in an organization which does not
have a mechanism for expulsion," ILO spokesman John Doohan said.
The action came a day after US President Bill Clinton in Geneva slammed the
military junta, which is locked in a bitter struggle with democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi, for "flagrant" human rights abuses.
Myanmar, which has been a member since 1948, claimed the ILO reports on
Myanmar were "one sided and biased," and based on the "unfounded allegations
made by dissidents and insurgent groups."
It claimed the West was using the ILO as a way of imposing its "values and
systems" on the country.
"While paying lip service to workers rights they are making politically
motivated allegations with the sole intention of tarnishing the image of the
Myanmar government and people."
An ILO commission of inquiry in a report issued last August found that
compulsory labour in Myanmar was practiced in a "systematic manner with a
total disregard for the human dignity, safety and health" of the people.
The ILO has blasted the Myanmar authorities for failing to amend any laws in
line with commission recommendations, propose any new laws or take steps to
punish those exacting forced labour.
The resolution said it was "appalled" by the status quo in Myanmar, where
citizens were coerced into working on infrastructure projects and serving as
porters for the army.
The resolution said: "The attitude and behaviour of the government of
Myanmar are grossly incompatible with the conditions and principles
governing membership of the organization."
Myanmar last month issued a forthright denial that it used forced labour
when it hosted a labour minister's conference of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Powerful First Secretary Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt said the West was
distorting events in Myanmar.
"If one is to believe some of the allegations found in the Western media,
the picture (of Myanmar) will be rather somber indeed," he said.
"We feel very strongly that these allegations were largely the result of
misperception and misunderstanding of the situation and the mentality of the
Villagers were happy to work for the military or to speed up development
projects, he said.
"In Myanmar thinking, contribution of labour not only brings immediate
material benefit in present life, but also merit in future life cycles," he