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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

FCO minister Hugo Swire says he welcomes ILO lifting restrictions on Burma

Thirteen years ago, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) placed restrictions on Burma due to its widespread use of forced labour, particularly by the military. This included a moratorium on all engagement by ILO members on engagement with Burma on any issue except forced labour. Now restrictions are lifted, ILO members will be able to offer technical advice on employment and work related issues and policies. The UK supported today’s move to lift the remaining restrictions given the significant legal and practical progress Burma has made towards ending forced labour and putting in place measures to allow trade unions and other workers’ organisations to operate freely in the country.

Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire has today welcomed the ILO's lifting of restrictions on Burma. Commenting Mr Swire said: “I welcome this move by the ILO to remove restrictions on Burma in recognition of the progress made there in recent years. Coming off the back of last week’s announcement by the EU that  urma would be a preferred trade partner this is further evidence that the international community is positively encouraging Burma’s efforts towards reform. However, Burma still has a long way to go in ensuring full workers rights, and there are still existing forced labour practices which must be consigned to history where they belong. We, alongside Burma’s other international partners, will work with the Burmese authorities and the ILO to achieve this.”