18 June 2004
Burmese Demand Action Against Regime
The New Zealand Government needs to urge the United Nations to take a strong stand against the military regime in Burma, Saw Min Lwin, a visiting Burmese trade unionist said today.
Saw Min Lwin, the secretary of trade union rights and human rights for the Federation of Trade Unions in Burma who is currently in Wellington, is to join a delegation of 30 of his countrymen and women at Parliament today to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister.
“In my country, thousands of farmers have had their land confiscated by the regime, many more work under forced labour, families live in the forests to hide from the soldiers and thousands more are forced to live in refugee camps outside Burma.”
The convention being held by the regime to draw up a new constitution is a fraud, Saw Min Lwin said. The National League for Democracy (NLD) which has been prevented from taking office after winning elections over a decade ago is not participating because its leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest, party members are in jail and all offices except for the headquarters are closed.
Other political parties who also had success at the elections are not taking part in the convention because the regime denies freedom of expression.
Saw Min Lwin said the letter, in line with the ILO Resolution of 2000, would ask the Government to urge the UN for economic sanctions against the regime and for the UN to be directly involved in talks to solve Burma’s political problems.
“We want to tell Miss Clark about our concern for the people in Burma who face oppression and abuse of their human rights at the hands of the regime,” he said.