17 February 2018

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Burmese democratic forces for the "no" to the constitutional referendum

A mass mobilization to vote "no" on the charter of the generals is the initiative launched yesterday at the end of a meeting among the leading Burmese activists in exile, and also supported by the Italian Labour Unions Confederation.

Mae Sot (AsiaNews) - A general mobilization to promote the "no" to the constitutional referendum organised by the Burmese military junta for next May.  This is the initiative launched at the conclusion of the forum for the strategic consultation of Burmese democratic organisations, held from March 25-27 in Mae Sot, a Thai town at the border with Myanmar.  The seminar, organised by the National Council of the Union of Burma in collaboration with the CISL (Italian Labour Unions Confederation), which has for some time worked beside the local union federation, was attended by the leading exiled proponents of democracy for Burma: from the National League for Democracy of Aung San Suu Kyi to the individual unions themselves, from the government in exile to the alliance of the ethnic communities, to the association of jurists and youth and women's organisations.

During the forum, dozens of groups energetically launched the campaign for the "no" to the May referendum, which is intended to approve the text of the new constitution, proposed by the army and drafted without any consultation with the opposition.  The participants at the meeting, including various former student leaders of the pro-democracy protests in August of 1988, then turned to denounce the massive recourse to forced labour on the part of the regime, emphasising how only a democratic transformation of the country will permit the elimination of this blight on society.  The struggle against forced labour was the subject of comments by Cecilia Brighi, member of the administrative council of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as a priority for the working agenda at in upcoming months: "We intend to denounce the junta before the International Court of Justice, because forced labour is a crime against humanity".

The commitment of the Burmese democratic movement was enthusiastically supported by the secretary general of the CISL, Renzo Belllini, who emphasised its capacity to promote "a concept of identity that includes, instead of excluding", while support for the move to democracy in the former Burma came from the Italian government itself, through a message from the undersecretary of the foreign ministry, Gianni Vernetti.

See also

03/03/2009 MYANMAR
Burmese junta should answer for crimes against humanity concerning cyclone victims
This is the charge of an NGO, which accuses the military junta of exploiting labor - including that of minors - confiscating humanitarian aid, and forced evictions. The report is based on interviews with volunteers and victims involved in cyclone Nargis. In Laputta, there is a shortage of drinking water and the risk of disease is high.

10/10/2008 THAILAND
Leaders of protest in Thailand released on bail
Those arrested include the spokesman and the head of the People's Alliance for Democracy, who promise to continue their political struggle until the government resigns. The former head of the army affirms that "an army coup" is the only way out of the crisis.

17/07/2008 MYANMAR
Nargis refugees exploited to rebuild entire areas of Burma
The military junta uses the work of adults and children to rebuild roads, homes, and bridges, without paying anyone. Those who do not give in to coercion are forced to pay a tax, and are accused of "opportunism".

22/11/2008 CHINA
UN committee: Beijing should apologize to Tiananmen victims
The committee against torture calls upon China to ask forgiveness for the massacre of students, and to provide information on the people still in prison. It also expresses the hope for "full and impartial" investigations to clarify the affair and punish the guilty. The UN also calls for an end to torture.

05/12/2017 11:48:00 MYANMAR - THAILAND
In five months, over 155,000 irregular Burmese workers returned from Thailand

The exodus caused by fear of Bangkok government’s new labor laws. Fines of between 1000 and 2 thousand euros for all foreigners without regular permits and sentences of up to five years in prison. The influx has overburdened social agencies and the border crossing between Myanmar and Thailand. Returning migrants victims of extortion by the Thai security forces. In Thailand there are about 4-5 million migrant workers, 1 million are illegal.

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