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U.S. Statement on Burma - Richard T. Miller

U.S. Statement on Burma

Ambassador Richard T. Miller, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
Statement on Item 14(b) Social Development, in the Economic and Social Council Substantive Session
Geneva, Switzerland
July 26, 2006

The practice of forced labor in Burma, with the complicity and active participation of the regime, is an affront to human rights standards and a direct violation of its obligations under ILO Convention 29.

Forced labor is a major obstacle to the development of a modern, prosperous, free economy and of a democratic society, both of which would benefit the Burmese people and both of which must include the fundamental rights of workers.

We have consistently supported, and we continue to support, the active engagement of the ILO in its efforts to highlight the abuses of forced labor in Burma and, at the same time, to engage constructively in the effort to move the country away from this reprehensible practice.

We support the conclusions of the recent International Labor Conference that the six-month moratorium on prosecutions of those who make complaints of forced labor should be made permanent and that the authorities must engage with the ILO in meaningful discussions to create a mechanism that would allow complaints to be received, investigated and acted upon, with assurance that those who submit complaints will be free of prosecution or other forms of retribution.

We support the recent International Labor Conference's reaffirmation of the resolution of the 2000 Conference and its consideration of ways the resolution might be strengthened. We also support consideration of other measures if the authorities do not take meaningful steps toward ending forced labor, including referral to the ICJ, which remains an option the ILO can consider.

Released on July 27, 2006


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