BWI welcomes ILO’s call for Myanmar's return to democracy

On the occasion of its annual global conference, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 19 June issued a resolution calling for the restoration of democracy and civilian rule in Myanmar.

The ILO resolution also called for the cessation of all attacks, threats and intimidation by the military junta against workers, employers and their respective organisations, and the general population, including in relation to their peaceful participation in protest activities, and the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. 

The ILO expressed its “profound concern” over the removal of the country’s civilian government by the military which carried out a coup in February of this year. It deplored the death of over eight hundred people, including trade unionists, who were simply exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly in support of democracy. It said that the police and military raided trade union offices and homes, harassed and threatened trade unionists and their families, and placed trade union leaders in detention and on a wanted list in retaliation for their participation in strikes and peaceful demonstrations demanding the restoration of democratic order and civilian rule in the country.

The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) welcomed the resolution, calling it “an important step in delegitimising the military junta and exposing its atrocities before the international community.” 

Last 9 June, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson delivered a speech before the International Labour Conference (ILC) where he called on the ILO not to recognise the military junta. BWI said that the ILO should “stop legitimising thugs and outlaws.”  It asserted that rogue regimes should never be given any recognition at the ILC or at any other international meetings and /or events. 

BWI urged the international trade union movement to fully recognise the Burmese people’s national unity government (NUG) as the sole and legitimate governing democratic authority in the country.