World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


EU action on Burma judged insufficient

EU action on Burma judged insufficient

Brussels, 14 October 2004, (ICFTU Online): Following the biannual ASEM (*) summit in Hanoi (8-9 October 2004), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) are expressing their deep dismay over the organisation's decision to admit Burma (also known as Myanmar) as one of its members. The south-east Asian country has long been the subject of heavy criticism from the ICFTU, the world's largest trade union body, for its continued violations of human rights, especially its systematic imposition of forced labour on the civilian population, as well as the ruling military junta's lack of respect for democracy.

Before the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, the European Union's statements concerning the possible participation of Burma in the meeting seemed to indicate a clear position that, on this occasion, human rights violations had a higher priority than commercial considerations. It is therefore all the more surprising that the summit neglected to demand that the Burmese authorities release opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders. This also contrasts strongly with the European Council's conclusions of September 2004 which declared the EU's intention to take determined measures unless the Burmese military junta released opposition leaders, allowed the NLD to operate freely, and invited the NLD and other political parties to participate freely in the National Convention.

Observing that none of its three conditions had been met, the EU Council decided on 11th October 2004 to maintain existing measures against the military regime in Burma; to add a few more names to its 'visa ban' list; and to adopt some measures in the area of foreign investment. Regrettably, the wording of the provisional text on foreign investment renders its effectiveness somewhat doubtful. Without urgently needed, adequate clarifications as to the meaning of the new measures, they risk being meaningless.

Concerning other issues at the ASEM Summit, the ICFTU and ETUC expressed their support for the ASEM Leaders' recommendation to expand the Asia-Europe dialogue on labour and employment at all levels. The union organisations emphasised that such dialogue should focus on decent work based on respect of fundamental workers' rights, with full involvement of trade unions.

For further information EU Foreign Ministers statement on Burma/Myanmar (Dutch EU Presidency website): ASEM Chairman's statement: European Council's statement of 11th October: (see page 12)

(*) ASEM is the Asia-Europe Meeting, created in 1996 between the then 15 member states of the European Union and 10 countries of the Asia-Pacific region (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>


Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>


Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>

80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>


Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC