Friday, April 10, 2009
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Solidarity Center Condemns Arrests of Burmese Union Members Print page E-mail to a friend
The Solidarity Center joined the global labor movement in condemning the April 1, 2009, arrests of five members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) by the Burmese military junta on their return home from border areas, where the first national FTUB Congress was held.
FTUB General Secretary U Maung Maung deplored the recent arrests of five FTUB members who had attended 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 that they may be being tortured.
“These arrests are clearly unlawful and violate international human rights standards that the Burmese government has ratified,” said Solidarity Center Executive Director Ellie Larson in a press release. “They are an insult to the global trade union movement and to workers everywhere.”
The five delegates have served as non-violent advocates and campaigners for worker rights and better wages and working conditions for workers inside Burma. A key feature of the Congress was the reaffirmation of the FTUB’s commitment to an end to 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.
Arrested were 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 nurse’s aide and law student who is also a member of the FTUB Women’s Committee. In addition, a number of family members were also arrested, threatened, and put under pressure to compel cooperation from the five detained FTUB members.
“We join the International Trade Union Confederation, the global labor movement, and the FTUB in condemning the arrests of these brave trade unionists,” said Larson. “Workers must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of association.”
Read the Solidarity Center press release
Read the FTUB Statement on Unlawful Detention