ICFTU and FGTB opposed to the entry in Belgium ofBurmese Junta official
Brussels May 09 2001 (ICFTU OnLine): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has learn from reliable sources that a member of the Burmese junta, U Soe Tha, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development, has applied to German consular authorities for a Schengen visa (Belgium does not have an embassy in Rangoon). His intention is to attend the Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries scheduled to take place from May 14-20 in Brussels.
For the ICFTU and its Belgian affiliate, the FGTB, it is unacceptable that the Junta member, who is blacklisted on the European Union list against Burmese official, be given a visa to enter Belgium.
For this reason, the FGTB addressed a letter to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louis Michel to call on him to use all the resources of the Schengen procedures available to him, to request the German authorities to refuse the Junta member’s entry. Mindful of Belgium’s access obligations as the host of a UN Conference, the ICFTU and FGTB insist that these obligations must not overrule the ethical principles included in the European Union Position of April 2000 (1).
The FGTB pointed out to the Minister that Burma could still send a delegation to the UN Conference that did not include blacklisted Junta officials.
Moreover, the ICFTU, in its edition of May of its monthly magazine, Trade Union World, provides details of the secret misinformation campaign operated by the Burmese junta to attempt to avoid pressures applied by the ILO, on its widespread and continuous use of forced labour.
The copy of an SPDC memorandum, exclusively in the hands of the ICFTU, labels the ICFTU, along with several western countries, as enemies of the junta for their continuous pressure on Rangoon to make democratic changes and to end forced labour practices.
(1) Council Common Position Point 5 (b) amended 26 April 2000.
in order to prevent the entry into, and transit through,
the territory of the Member States by senior members of
the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC),
Burmese authorities in the tourism sector, senior
members of the military, the Government or the security
forces who formulate, implement or benefit from policies
that impede Burma/Myanmar's transition to democracy,
no visas for entry or transit shall be issued to any persons,
whose names are listed in the Annex and their families.
(the name of U Soe Tha appears)