To show their strong support to the Burmese people’s continuous struggle for genuine freedom and democracy, workers from the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and other members of the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines picketed this morning the Burma Embassy in Makati City and offered flowers and lighted candles in front of the embassy in memory of the countless victims that were killed by the military junta during the August 8, 1988 National Uprising in Burma.

“16 years is long enough to prove that the Burmese military government has failed miserably in uplifting the lives of the people which has only sowed terror and fear in the hearts and minds of the Burmese people longing for freedom and civilian authority in their country,” APL said in a statement.

The APL denounced the continuing problem of forced labor in Burma saying that the junta up to this time is practicing such an illegal and inhumane labor policy.

“Thousands of people including women and children are continuously being forced to work on construction projects inside Burma without receiving payments for their long-hours of labor,” APL said. The group criticizes investors and business entities who are taking advantage of the government’s slave labor policies to advance their profit interests as the workers civil trade union rights are mercilessly suppressed and severely curtailed.

The group urges the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to make a united and firm stand against the oppression of the Burmese people by the military junta.

The FBC and APL reiterated their demand to the ASEAN not to allow Burma from chairing the regional body in 2006. “For a garrison state like Burma that continuously denies genuine democratic liberties of its people, the military boots of the junta government should not be allowed to track mud on the ASEAN’s carpet,” FBC stressed.

The groups demand the unconditional release of Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and want a tripartite dialogue to take place in that country where the junta, the major opposition party National League for Democracy and ethnic parties would be given equal representations and status.

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