How human rights abuses in Burma are linked to Canada and impact Canadians

Canada has a history of concern for Burma dating back to the Royal Canadian Air Force delivering humanitarian aid to remote Burmese villages at the end of the 2nd World War. Since that time, Burma has come under the rule of one of the world's most brutal military dictatorships. While Canada has imposed minimal punitive measures against the military regime, the government still allows Canadian companies to support Burma's dictatorship through hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment and trade. The situation of corporate complicity with human rights abuses in Burma is on par with Canadian companies profiting from oil in Sudan and diamonds in Sierra Leone. Recently the International Labour Organization passed a resolution calling on all its members --- which includes the Canadian government --- to review their connections with Burma to ensure that they are not perpetuating or benefiting from forced labour there. The military systematically uses forced labour throughout the country. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which has been monitoring the forced labour in Burma for years, asserts that it is not possible to do business in Burma without supporting the system of forced labour or severe violations of core labour practices.

Burma's military regime also has a direct impact on Canadians. Ninety per cent of all heroin arriving into Canada comes from Burma. Burma's military junta protects, encourages and profits from the heroin industry.

Date last changed: 2007 September 25

Burma Watch International, 533 Buchanan Road NW, Edmonton, AB CANADA T6R 2B7
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