Statement from the ILO on detained labour activists in Myanmar

The ILO calls upon the government to review and reverse the sentences of six labour activists in Myanmar.The persons concerned should be released without delay.

Press release | BANGKOK | 12 September 2007

(ILO Bangkok ) - The ILO calls upon the government to review and reverse the sentences of six labour activists in Myanmar . The persons concerned should be released without delay.

Myanmarhas ratified the Freedom of Association Convention No. 87 and thus, as has been pointed out by the ILO repeatedly,  has an international legal obligation to respect its citizens' right to associate freely.

The right of workers to engage in developing their own organizations and also to celebrate 1st May has been underlined by the ILO's standards supervisory bodies.

The government should welcome, and not repress, attempts at exercising freedom of association, particularly as the lack of independent and representative workers' organizations has been noted at several International Labour Conferences, including the one held in June this year.

The ILO has been following this case from the beginning and some time ago expressed its concern to the government. These kinds of sentences are not only entirely unwarranted. They can also harm the few processes of engagement that exist, such as the activities against forced labour."

Kari Tapiola
Executive Director, ILO Geneva

For more information please contact:
Kari Tapiola
Executive Director, ILO Geneva
Tel. 4122 799 6324, 4179 250 7936
e-mail  

Guy Thijs
Deputy Regional Director
ILO Regional Office in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
Tel. 662 288 1712
e-mail