BWI calls for release of Burmese labour leader

BWI condemns without reservation and in the strongest terms the arrest of Burmese trade union leader Mi Mi Aung by the military junta. Mi Mi Aung, who is the finance officer of the Hmawbe Brick Factory Union, an affiliate of the Building and Wood Workers Federation of Myanmar (BWFM), was reportedly arrested at her residence in Hmawbe. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.

We join the Burmese trade union movement in demanding the military junta to immediately disclose where Mi Mi Aung is being detained and release her from captivity. 

 Mi Mi Aung’s arrest is just the latest in the military junta’s violent crackdown against democracy activists and trade unionists since it launched a coup last February which detained 3,400 people and killed more than 700. 

The arrest also came on the heels of a five-point consensus on Myanmar issued by leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 24 April. While the ASEAN’s statement is an important contribution to ending the military junta’s violent repression in Myanmar, it fell short of calling for a cessation of arbitrary arrests and detentions, and the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. 

BWI believes that any effort to return Myanmar to the path of democracy cannot prosper if the very leaders and advocates of democratic governance are continuously being hunted down, arrested and incarcerated. Any talk of democracy is not possible in a climate of repression and impunity. 

We call on the ASEAN to officially demand the Burmese military junta to immediately and unconditionally release all political leaders, opposition politicians, human rights advocates and trade unionists, and to put this demand as a sixth point in its consensus on Myanmar. 

Likewise, we demand the military junta to immediately release Mi Mi Aung and all the trade unionists, government leaders and democracy activists it illegally imprisoned, and hold itself accountable for the deaths of hundreds of Burmese citizens. We call on Myanmar’s military to end its illegal rule of the country, submit to civilian rule and send its troops back to the barracks.

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