CUPE and other Canadian Labour Congress affiliates will assist in the protection of trade union leaders in Burma after the assassination of a top democracy movement leader on Feb. 14.
The ruling junta is to blame for the murder of Phado Mahn Sha, 64, general secretary of the Karen National Union, says the International Trade Union Council. The KNU is Burma’s second-largest ethnic nationality group and a supporter of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
According to the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), the assassins used a vehicle owned by a Thai business partner of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a paramilitary group controlled by Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
The ITUC says the DKBA has for 10 years been responsible for murders, torture, rape, the imposition of forced labour and forced recruitment of child soldiers in Burma’s Karen State, which borders Thailand.
The SPDC has said it will hold a constitutional referendum next May and organise national elections in 2010. The ITUC says the announcement has been “widely denounced by Burma’s democracy movement and many foreign governments as a scam designed to relieve mounting international political and economic pressure on the junta.”