President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation and National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Paddy Crumlin, has welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military rulers in Burma.
“Everyone in the MUA and ITF would like to send our heart-felt congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi for finally winning her freedom,” Mr Crumlin said.
“She has been, and continues to be, a truly inspirational figure for her country by constantly maintaining her principled position against the military junta.
“I now urge the international community to help Aung San Suu Kyi to take the necessary steps to free her people from the tyranny of the self-imposed military rulers.
“She has made an enormous sacrifice during her many years under house arrest and now we urge her on to the next phase of her emancipation.
“The Global Union Federation is ready and willing to support her struggle and her country’s struggle in any way we can which is appropriate and progressive.”
Mr Crumlin said the ACTU’s overseas humanitarian aid agency, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, has had a long-standing commitment to Burma, and operates six projects for refugees on the Thai-Burma border.
“The ITF and the MUA now join the International Trade Union Confederation in supporting the demand for a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity, as well as an International Labour OrganisationCommission of Inquiry into abuses of fundamental workers’ rights,” he said.
“Unions also demand the immediate release of all 2200 political prisoners in Burma, including labour activists, and we call for the ban on trade unions to be lifted to give workers in Burma a voice.”Mr Crumlin said the MUA’s Rod Pickette, the policy executive officer for the union’s Political Resource Centre in Canberra, represented the ACTU at the ITUC Burma Conference in Tokyo in February 2010.
He said the conference committed to the restoration of democracy in Burma, and strengthening the capacity of the Federation of Trade Unions - Burma to operate both inside and outside the country.