political leaders must take action to end the atrocities taking place in Myanmar

Today, 1 February 2022, marks one year since the coup d’état in Myanmar, which saw the military junta take over and unleash a reign of terror over citizens, workers, trade unions and human rights defenders. IndustriAll Europe stands in solidarity with workers in Myanmar and calls on the EU to respond to the horrendous abuses of human rights by immediately withdrawing trade preferences under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) system to cut off the military junta’s funding.

Since the coup d’état, the military junta has arrested over 11,500 civilians, trade unionists, journalists and cultural workers, carried out 64 death penalties and killed more than 1,500 civilians, including at least 100 children, aged between 14 months and 17 years.

Furthermore, the United Nations estimates that there are more than 1.6 million internally displaced persons and refugees due to the conflict in Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States in Myanmar. In addition, there are 241,000 Myanmarese refugees in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.

Under these circumstances, the European Union and the the international community, must take a stronger political stance and implement economic actions to stop this carnage. IndustriAll European Trade Union, and its sister organisation, IndustriALL Global Union, at the request of the democratic trade unions in Myanmar, call on the EU to immediately withdraw Myanmar’s trade preferences under the EU’s EBA scheme.

The EU’s General Scheme of Preferences (GSP), of which EBAs are part of, aims to use EU trade to create jobs in developing countries with respect for labour and human rights. Sanctions and the withdrawal of trade preferences can be implemented when there is evidence of labour and human rights abuses.

Judith Kirton‐Darling, industriAll Europe Deputy General Secretary, said:

‘’The people of Myanmar have been living under a military dictatorship for a year now and the situation simply cannot be allowed to continue. All political leaders must take action to end the atrocities taking place in Myanmar, and we call on EU leaders to use their collective powers, including EU trade measures, to weaken the military junta and end their terrible rule.

‘’EU leaders must listen to workers and trade unions in Myanmar and urgently revoke their country’s EBA preferences. Everyone has the right to live in peace and security and we call on the EU to play its role in ending the military junta’s rule in Myanmar.’’

Joint letter of industriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union to the European Commission: EN

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication), Elspeth Hathaway (policy adviser)