Human Rights are LGBT Rights: Human Rights abuses in Burma

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2007 National LGBT Conference
16 November 2007

Conference is appalled, despite a majority of 13:2, China actively refused to back agreement for a non-binding Presidential statement condemning continued widespread human rights violations inflicted on the peoples of Burma by the military junta, at last Tuesday’s (13 November) United Nations (UN) Security Council.

Forced labour, torture, ill treatment, sexual violence and child labour – together with starvation and forced migration are widespread. Several million displaced migrant-workers face a vulnerable and uncertain future in neighbouring countries, as most are ‘undocumented’. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists have also been targeted.

This is totally unacceptable to all of us living and working in a free and democratic society. We need to act now to prevent the continuation of such violations of fundamental human rights.

We welcome work being progressed by the National LGBT Committee following the substantive motion on Burma at last year’s Manchester Conference.

We call on UNISON members and activists to continue to lobby the British Government to apply robust political pressure to prevent continued oppression of the Burmese people, through the UN Security Council.

We call on Conference to:

1.Call for fund managers of any investments of UNISON members’ savings or pensions to withdraw funds from any companies on the Burma ‘dirty list’ (companies that invest in Burma);

2.Work on actions highlighting use of forced labour in Burma, in particular working with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and Human Rights Watch;

3.Campaign for the release of all political prisoners, including trade unionists and labour activists;

4.Push for a total arms embargo: working with Amnesty to put pressure on the Chinese government; and with PSI (Public Sector International), ETUC (European Trade Unions Confederation), Indian, ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Members and Russian Confederation of Trade Unions calling on them to lobby individual governments who continue to trade and invest in Burmese junta infrastructure, nuclear industry and armament sale and procurement, to withdraw, disinvest and to positively use their political influence to bring about peaceful transition to democracy;

5.Work with COSATU (Confederation of South African Trade Unions) to pressurise the South African Government to support such a UN Security Council resolution, isolating Russia and China further – making their continued veto untenable;

6.Provide financial and organisational support to the Federation of Trade Unions – Burma (FTUB) and Federation of Karen Trade Unions (FTUK), encouraging branches to twin with affiliates;

7.Support the invitation of speakers to National, Regional, Service and Self-organised group Conferences and events, in conjunction with the Free Burma Coalition, Burma Campaign UK, AAPPB (Association for Assistance for Political Prisoners Burma and other Burma groups active in the United Kingdom (UK), as part of an ongoing membership awareness programme;

8.Work with and contribute to British based Burmese Development Education charities BEST (Burma Educational Scholarship Trust, Scotland) and Burmalink UK, who work at grassroots level with civil society activists and organisations inside Burma and on the Burma borders; particularly supporting initiatives in areas of public service, education and training, where UNISON organise in the UK.