Toward Burma's 2010 general election scheduled for the upcoming fall, international concerns over the Burma issues are growing. On 11-12 February, ITUC held the ITUC Burma Conference 2010 in Tokyo at the RENGO Headquarters, hosted by RENGO. Over 80 participants from 21 countries attended the Conference, including Guy RYDER, General Secretary of ITUC, Noriyuki SUZUKI, General Secretary of ITUC-AP, Maung MAUNG, General Secretary of FTUB (Federation of Trade Unions - Burma), and other 34 trade union leaders. From RENGO, Nobuaki KOGA, President, Hiroyuki NAGUMO, General Secretary, and other officers participated in the Conference. Moreover, Chinami NISHIMURA, Parliamentary Secretary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Yoshinori SUEMATSU, Representative of the Japanese Diet Members' League for Support of Democratization in Myanmar delivered speeches.
The ITUC Burma Conference was held four times before (in Manila in October 1995, in Kathmandu in January 1999, in Tokyo in February 2001, and in Kathmandu in April 2007). This is the 5th time, the 2nd time since the ITUC's inauguration.
The participants actively discussed on how trade unions should deal with the Burma issues from several aspects. At the end, the Conference adopted the “Statement by the International Trade Union Confederation Conference” . The Statement emphasizes on building solidarity with Burmese workers through the international trade union movements: (1) to demand the release of all the political prisoners, the amendment of the Burma's constitution and the prompt realization of dialogues between the military junta and the pro-democracy groups including ethnic minorities, (2) to urge strongly MNEs to withdraw from economic activities in Burma, (3) to request that ILO should reinforce its response to the issues of forced labor and freedom of association, and (4) to strengthen our supports to FTUB.
From this time, each trade union will make efforts for promoting democracy in Burma on their own positions. Meanwhile, ITUC will determine the future strategy of the international trade union movement with regard to Burma on the ITUC's upcoming Congress in Vancouver in June 2010.