Thursday, April 9, 2009
Solidarity Center Condemns Arrests of Burmese Union Members
The AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center and the global union movement are condemning the April 1 arrests of five members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) by the Burmese military junta. The union members were arrested as they returned home from the first national FTUB Congress.
No charges have been announced in the arrests. According to a statement by the FTUB, the delegates are likely being held in interrogation centers in the Rangoon area, and FTUB spokespersons believe they may be being tortured.
Solidarity Center Director Ellie Larson says:
These arrests are clearly unlawful and violate international human rights standards that the Burmese government has ratified. They are an insult to the global trade union movement and to workers everywhere.
The five union members served as nonviolent advocates and campaigners for workers’ rights and better wages and working conditions for workers in Burma. A key feature of the Congress was the reaffirmation of the FTUB’s commitment to ending military rule and the introduction of democracy in Burma. Union representatives from Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific countries, Europe and North America attended the historic Congress.
The five persons under arrest include U Zaw Myint Aung, a teacher; U Soe Oo, Maung Tun Nyein and Khine Lin Myat, all textile factory workers; and Shwe Y Nyunt, a nurses aide and law student who is also a member of the FTUB Women’s Committee. In addition, a number of family members were arrested, threatened and put under pressure to compel cooperation from the five detainees.
“We join the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Labor Organization and the FTUB in condemning the arrests of these brave trade unionists,” Larson says.
Workers must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of association.
This is a crosspost from the Solidarity Center websid