Daily News-November 21 - 2001- Wednesday

  • Briefing on ILO Governing Body Meeting Held
  • Australia-sponsored drug detection course opens in Mandalay
  • Shame! Six Canadian companies linked to Burma
  • Tachilek convoy gets security pass
  • Burmese deportees to get job training first
  • Fight erupts between gangs over RM5
  • Myanmar's Rubber Export Decreases In First Eight Months

  • Briefing on ILO Governing Body Meeting Held

    MIC-Information Sheet N0. C-2025 ( I )

    The Heads of Missions in Yangon were briefed on the proceedings of the ILO Governing Body Meeting which took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 14 and 15 November, 2001 at Wunzin Minyaza Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 19 November. It was attended by heads of missions in Yangon headed by the deputy Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and officials of the News and Periodicals Enterprise of the Ministry of Information. At the briefing the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs stated the fact that:

    - The Governing Body Meeting focused its attention on the Report of ILO High Level Team (HLT) that visited Myanmar from 17 September to 7 October, 2001 and adopted conclusions on the agenda item;

    - Even before the meeting was convened, western media were predicting that the meeting would adopt further coercive measures against Myanmar but these predictions were proved unfounded;

    - The report in fact recognized the political will of the Myanmar Government to eliminate forced labour and indicated the need for the international community to be actively involved in the economic modernization of the country;

    - Regarding the implementation of relevant laws and regulations, the report, while acknowledging the progress made, also pointed out areas where there could be room for improvement;

    - Moreover, the conclusions derived by the HLT Team contained recommendations and suggestions for the way forward;

    - Myanmar would like to express its profound appreciation to the ASEAN nations, China, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Pakistan and other like-minded nations for supporting it during the proceedings;

    - Even western nations that made critical statements acknowledged the cooperation extended by Myanmar authorities to the HLT Team;

    - Following the transmission by the HLT Team of some complaints regarding forced labour, the authorities concerned launched thorough investigations showed that the allegations were baseless and false and the authorities had replied to the ILO to this effect;

    - While expressing reservation on the conclusions adopted by the ILO Governing Body, Myanmar would continue to cooperate with the ILO where possible, taking into account its national interests and sovereignty.

    The Deputy Minister then responded to the queries raised by the diplomats.

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    Australia-sponsored drug detection course opens in Mandalay

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 20, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese TV on 19 November

    Opening ceremony of the course on detection of narcotic drugs sponsored by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control [CCDAC] and Central Police Force of Australia was held at the Sedona Hotel in Mandalay, at 0900 [all times local] today.

    Maj-Gen Soe Win, secretary of CCDAC and director-general of Myanmar Police Force police major and Ambassador of Australia to Myanmar Trevor David Wilson delivered opening speeches.

    It was attended by Liaison Officer of Australia Police Force Cedric Netto and course instructors, senior officers of Myanmar Police Force, departmental officials and 25 trainees. The course will last 12 days.

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    Shame! Six Canadian companies linked to Burma

    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - The names of six companies based in Canada, including Air Canada and Ivanhoe Mines, made the list of 250 companies with links to the oppressive state of affairs in Burma, released by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

    "Cases of forced labour have and continue to be documented in Burma, so much so that it is the only country on the planet the International Labour Organization (ILO) is boycotting," said Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti, pointing out that the ILO is a tripartite organization of labour, governments and employers, all of which support the boycott.

    The ICFTU has compiled a database of companies with business links to Burma, based on publicly available information. The following Canadian companies appear:

    - Air Canada
    - CHC Helicopter Corporation - based in Richmond, BC and St.John's NF
    - East Asia Gold Corp. - based in Toronto
    - Leeward Capital Corp. (Amber-Gems.com) - based in Calgary
    - Mindoro Resources Ltd. - based in Edmonton
    - Ivanhoe Mines - based in Vancouver

    A military dictatorship has ruled Burma for years. There are not only forced labour and other serious human and trade union rights abuses on a large scale, there is not freedom of association and no democracy. The international trade union movement believes that it is impossible to conduct any trade or engage in other economic activity with Burma without providing direct or indirect support, mostly financial, to the military junta.

    "Any business involvement in Burma is an accommodation with tyranny. It supports a corrupt and repressive military regime that has never been granted any legitimacy by the people of Burma," said Georgetti.

    For more information about these companies, and their links to Burma, visit this web page: http://www.global-unions.org/burma/default.asp-Order (equal sign)Country

    The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 2.5 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together the majority of Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 132 district labour councils. Web site: www.clc-ctc.ca.

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    Tachilek convoy gets security pass

    The Nation

    Defence Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday gave a preliminary green light for the cross-border transportation of equipment from Tak province for the construction of a controversial lignite power plant in Burma's Tachilek town.

    However, Chavalit said the delivery could be made only after the Thai government considered a report that the plant would not have a negative impact on the environment in the area and on the health of local Thais.

    The transportation of heavy equipment from China for the plant earlier this year caused an uproar by the people of Tak,who feared that they would be affected by the burning of lignite by the plant. They staged a mass protest, prompting the army that oversees border security to block and suspend the transportation of the equipment.

    "The security aspects for the shipping of the equipment to Tachilek town have been cleared, and they can proceed if it is proved there will be no environmental impact. Authorities concerned will have to explain to the people that they must be more understanding," he said.

    Yesterday the National Security Council reportedly held a meeting with Chiang Rai officials who became concerned when they were informed about the matter.Pang Polchai, an adviser to the environmentalist organisation Rak Mae Sai, said the local people would not stand idly by if the transportation of the equipment proceeded.

    "We want the government to make an environmental study before taking any decision. However, if no one can guarantee health and environmental safety, we will certainly move to block it," he said. He said that this time local villagers might choose a violent way to protect the area, such as burning the equipment.

    He also called for the government to promise villagers compensation if the Burmese plant harmed the environment or their health. "The plant is to be built on Burmese soil close to our border, so Thai villagers have the right to protect ourselves," he said.

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    Burmese deportees to get job training first

    The Bangkokpost
    Supamart Kasem

    About 100,000 Burmese refugees in Thailand will be given occupational training before their repatriation. Pairot Promsarn, the Interior Ministry's deputy permanent secretary, said he agreed with a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees proposal to have refugees undergo occupational and skill training before repatriation.

    Mr Pairot yesterday led senior ministry officials on an inspection of Mae La refugee camp in Tak's Tha Song Yang district. He also held a meeting with deputy Tak governor Phan Ta-in and refugee camp representatives.

    Thailand and UNHCR have agreed to repatriate some 100,000 Burmese living in holding centres and refugee camps across Thailand. A camp official said about 300 Burmese illegally entered Thailand every month, adding most people fled Burma to escape economic hardship.

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    Fight erupts between gangs over RM5


    KUALA LUMPUR, Mon.-Two gangs clashed with each other at a kongsi in Tasik Permai, Ampang, last Wednesday. Several youths went to a kongsi occupied by Myanmar nationals and demanded RM5 from a worker.

    When the worker refused to pay, he was assaulted by the youths, who were then attacked by several other Myanmar nationals. The youths then fled and returned with more members. A fight erupted between the youths and Myanmar nationals using parangs and wooden sticks. Police detained 26 youths. Nine were later released.

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    Myanmar's Rubber Export Decreases In First Eight Months

    YANGON, Nov 20 (Oana-Xinhua) -- Myanmar exported 16,200 tons of raw rubber in the first eight months of this year, a 6.35-percent decrease from the same period of 2000, the latest data of the official Economic Indicators show.

    The earning through the export of raw rubber during the period was registered at US$8.04 million, reducing by 13.17 percent compared with the corresponding period of 2000. Meanwhile, during the eight-month period, the country imported rubber goods worth US$21.87 million, 19.68 percent less than the same period of 2000.

    Myanmar has been striving to extend the cultivation areas of rubber which is one of its major industrial crops and one of its major foreign exchange earners. A latest report said the country has extended the rubber plantation area from two divisions and states to four with the increase of the hectarage from 81,000 in 1994 to 182,250 at present. In Myanmar, 2.62 million hectares are reportedly suitable for rubber growing.

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