FSC ignores grave workers' and trade union rights in junta-ruled Myanmar

The Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) expresses profound dismay at the recent decision by the FSC International Board to maintain chain-of-custody certificates and FSC certification systems in Myanmar, despite the shocking revelations outlined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Commission of Inquiry (COI) report. The decision to certify over 10 companies during the current onslaught against trade unions by the military junta demonstrates a callous disregard for workers' rights and trade union principles.

The ILO Commission of Inquiry (COI) report, with a focus on Convention No. 87, reveals an alarming situation in Myanmar. The military authorities' measures, including legislative enactments and practical actions, have resulted in a catastrophic impact on basic civil liberties crucial for the exercise of freedom of association rights protected by Convention No. 87.

Trade union members and leaders have endured violence, arbitrary arrests, sham trials, convictions, detentions, abuse, torture, threats, intimidation, surveillance, and forced exile. The COI concludes that this relentless oppression has incapacitated trade unionists, preventing them from engaging in activities to protect the interests of their members.

The COI further concluded that the measures taken by the military authorities violate Myanmar's obligations under ILO Convention No. 87, as there are serious and far-reaching restrictions on basic civil liberties necessary for the exercise of freedom of association.

As such, BWI condemns the FSC's decision to persist with its certification of Myanmar despite the massive violations of workers' and trade union rights highlighted in the COI report. This action exposes the FSC to the risk of complicity in the violation of workers' rights in Myanmar and undermines the principles of ethical business conduct.

We urgently call upon the FSC International Board to reconsider its decision and take immediate action to terminate chain-of-custody certificates and FSC certification systems in Myanmar until there is a restoration of basic civil liberties and trade union rights in the country.

BWI stands in unwavering solidarity with the workers and trade unions in Myanmar and urges the international community to join us in condemning these violations and supporting the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain.#