The ILO and Myanmar - key developments

1948-02-01 00:00:00

Union of Burma joins the ILO

The Burmese delegation to the 31st International Labour Conference (ILC) in San Francisco.

1955-02-01 00:00:00

Union of Burma ratifies Forced Labour Convention

Burma ratifies the Forced Labour Convention (C.29) and other 18 Conventions. The Convention requires that the practice of forced labour be outlawed and eliminated.

1960-02-01 00:00:00

First forced labour complaints

In the 1960’s the first complaints about Burma's failure to meet its commitments under the Forced Labour Convention are raised.

1989-08-30 10:52:58

Country changes name

The government changes the country's official name from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar.

1990-05-27 15:46:45


The first multi-party elections since 1960 are held. The election is won by the National League for Democracy, but the government ignores the results

1991-10-14 15:46:45

Nobel Peace Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but is unable to travel to the official ceremony. Her sons accept the Prize on her behalf

1996-06-20 00:00:00

Workers' delegates complaint

In a letter to the ILO Director General ( dated 20 June) 25 Workers' delegates to the 83rd Session of the International Labour Conference present a complaint against the Myanmar government for non-observance of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).

1997-02-01 00:00:00

Commission of Enquiry

The ILO establishes a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the alleged use of forced labour by the ruling SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) and its forces. The COI's July 1998 report finds evidence of the “widespread and systematic use” of forced labour by the authorities and makes recommendations to bring the situation into line with international standards. The recommendations are largely ignored by the Government who claim that the report is politically biased and false.

1999-02-01 00:00:00

87th ILC resolution

In view of the Government’s failure to take action to implement the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations to end the widespread use of forced labour in Myanmar the ILC adopts a resolution that decides Myanmar will cease to benefit from any ILO technical cooperation or assistance and will not be allowed to attend ILO-organized meetings or seminars, unless for the sole purpose of securing immediate and full compliance with the Recommendations. The only exception concerns the annual ILC, as attendance is granted on the basis of membership of the ILO.

2000-06-30 00:28:00

Further action at the 88th ILC

For the first time in its history the ILO asks other international organizations and UN bodies to reconsider their assistance to Burma in light of its failure to meet its obligations to the ILO. These measures are adopted by the 88th ILC in June 2000, invoking article 33 of the ILO Constitution for the first time. Despite these measures the SPDC continues to disregard its obligations to the ILO.

The ILO and Myanmar - key developments

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