The International Labour Organization (ILO) has lifted all remaining restrictions against Burma. It is hoped that this will help boost trade and foreign investment. The decision to remove all remaining restrictions came at the ILO’s annual conference this week in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The resolution adopted by the conference recognizes the progress made in Myanmar and lifts all ILO restrictions on Myanmar,” the UN agency, a labor rights watchdog which includes representatives from governments, employers and labor organizations, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The remaining restrictions, imposed in 2000, where relating to Burma’s non-compliance of the ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).
The Resolution adopted by the Conference recognizes the progress made in Myanmar and lifts all ILO restrictions on Myanmar. It calls on ILO member states to provide financial support for the elimination of forced labour and invites the Governing Body (the executive body of the ILO) to review the situation in Myanmar on issues relating to ILO activities, including freedom of association and the impact of foreign investment on decent working conditions in the country.
It was not very long ago that the ILO representative in Rangoon received death threats or that the ILO sought to bring charges against the former regime in the International Court of Justice.
At the ILO conference last year (2012), Burma’s labor minister said he was expediting a program to eliminate forced labor by 2015, and the ILO lifted restrictions on technical cooperation to reinstate Burma as a full member state, while also suspending some of the restrictions imposed in 1999 and 2000.
The Irrawaddy article also outlines that,
• In April the European Union permanently lifted all economic sanctions against Burma, with the exception of an arms embargo.
• The United States has suspended sanctions on investment and trade.
• Last week, the European Union readmitted Burma to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, allowing the country to benefit from lower duties on exports.
• Rights activists say forced labor remains a major problem in many of Burma’s border states, where clashes continue to break out between ethnic armed groups and the government’s army despite ceasefire agreements.
• In southeast Burma’s Karen State, forced labor has been imposed by the Border Guard Force (BGF), which is controlled by the government’s army.
• In east Burma’s Shan State, rights groups also cite continuing forced labor at the hands of government soldiers and ethnic minority militias
• In the past year, reports of forced labor have also come out of Kachin State, Chin State, Arakan State and other border states.