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Monday, 8 November 2010

The 'elections' in Burma

The TUC joined the Burmese community and organisations from across the UK on Saturday to protest against the sham elections held by the military regime in Burma. The elections, which took place yesterday, are deeply flawed and risk keeping the brutal military regime in power for years to come. Pro-democracy voices have been excluded from the vote, with leader Aung San Suu Kyi still behind bars along with 2,200 other political prisoners.
Many political parties have been prevented from campaigning, and regardless of the outcome of the vote, the military is guaranteed effective control of the government under its flawed constitution. The regime has also banned foreign observers and journalists from covering the poll.
Join the Burmese community in London and a range of civil society organisations in stepping up pressure on the regime and demanding an inclusive and democratic Burma that fully respects human rights.
The Burmese dictatorship stands accused of committing widespread and systematic human rights abuses, including torture, forced displacement, sexual violence, and extra-judicial killings. With forced and child labour rampant, trade unions banned, endemic poverty and labour rights campaigners in prison, it is one of worst places in the world to be a worker.
Some in the international community are viewing the elections as a reason to relax pressure on the regime. This would be a mistake. Instead, the UK government needs to lead in pushing for tougher sanctions, a global arms embargo and supporting a UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity to put real pressure on the generals. At the International Labour Organisation, the UK can also lead in pressing for a Commission of Inquiry into Freedom of Association and real action to stamp out forced and child labour.

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