IUF Asia & Pacific Regional Committee meeting in Seoul, from 18-19
NOTES that a rising tide of democratic activism inside Burma during 2007 has swelled to confront the Military Dictatorship. The following are some major events:
- the protests in August and September in Rangoon (and 14 other cities) organised by “88 Generation Students” Group and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) against fuel price rises which were met with arrests (of over 150 protesters), thuggery and intimidation by agents of the military regime;
- a labour event held on the 1st of May in Rangoon following which six labour activists who participated were given prison sentences on 7 September 2007 of up to 28 years for “inciting hatred or contempt for the government”;
- the arrest and detention in August 2007 of a person who filed a forced labour complaint with the ILO; despite being released charges remain pending and the person’s movements remain restricted;
- protests by hundreds of monks in early September in Pakokku ( in central Burma) against fuel price rises, which the military stopped by firing at the demonstrating monks, beatings and arrests;
- two newly re-emerged independent organizations, viz. All Burma Federation of Students Unions (ABFSU) and All Burma Buddhist Monks Association made pledges in early September to work together again for Democracy. (It may be recalled that both these organizations which led previous Democracy campaigns were dissolved by the military junta in 1988.) They called on the military regime to stop repression, release all detainees and to begin serious dialogue with the democratic forces to usher in democracy.
- In a public statement issued in early September, civil servants from 4 different ministries in Burma pledged to actively participate in the pro-democracy protests;
- Workers in Rangoon started distributing anti-dictatorship leaflets in August and September;
NOTES that without effective internal and external opposition to the regime there is no possibility for the development of democracy in Burma; indeed, there is grave concern for further ruthless crackdown on pro-democracy activists;
FURTHER NOTES that at the present moment of a sharp increase in internal protests it is vital the international labour movement lend its strength to add to the struggle’s momentum;
CALLS on all affiliates to build the campaign of sanctions against the regime and support campaigns for democracy in Burma.