|Agence France Presse
16, 2003 Wednesday
SECTION: Financial Pages
Dissidents celebrate victory in anti-Myanmar
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, April 15
Activists celebrated Tuesday after a major
US industry association called on the US government to ban clothing
and footwear imports from military-ruled Myanmar over human rights
The American Association of Apparel and Footwear
Manufacturers asked the government to "maintain this ban until
Burma demonstrates that it recognizes, respects, and enforces basic
human and labor rights for its own citizens." The association
counts nearly 1,000 firms on its membership lists, including giants
such as Levi Strauss and Company, Sara Lee Branded Apparel, Liz
Claiborne and Perry Ellis.
"This will strengthen our coalition's
grassroots effort to boycott 'Made in
Burma' products," said Aung Din, Policy Director for the Free
Coalition, a dissident group.
"No companies, US or otherwise -- should
profit from forced labor in Burma," he said using a name for
the country outlawed by the junta.
Myanmar's clothing exports, one of its few
profitable areas of trade, has
been a key target of supporters of democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi, who has battled the military for more than a decade after it
annulled her 1990 election victory.
More than 40 companies, including Wal-Mart
and Adidas have pledged to steer clear of products made in Myanmar,
where activists say rights violations and forced labor are rampant.
The United States is a frequent critic of the
Yangon junta, and supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi. Last month it warned
that a reform drive in Myanmar had ground to a halt, and that it
was considering imposing further sanctions on the country.