A unique ASEAN Plus 6 Regional Social Dialogue (ARSD) amongst Trade Unions, Parliamentarians, and Myanmar National Unity Government (NUG) held on 30 August 2021 resulted in a resolution calling for the restoration of democracy in the country to advance decent work.
The resolution, amongst other key recommendations, called on the United Nations to recognise the National Unity Government (NUG) as the legitimate representative of Myanmar at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which will start on 14 September.
The event was specially convened ahead of the UNGA’s Credentials Committee’s deliberations, determining whether the NUG’s or the military junta’s representative could be present at the body’s meeting.
The discussions focused on exploring ways to contribute to the Myanmar people’s calls for the international community to recognise the NUG, which was established on 16 April by the democratically-elected Myanmar legislative body in exile. It includes representatives of the National League of Democracy (NLD), all ethnic minority groups, different political parties, trade unions, youth and women’s organisations.
UNI Asia and Pacific Regional Organisation (UNI Apro), together with like-minded Asia Pacific organisations of Global Unions, the ASEAN Services Empoyees Trade Union Council (ASETUC), and with the cooperation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Asia Pacific), the ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC), the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and the Confederation of Trade Unions, Myanmar (CTUM), teamed up to organise the event as part of a broad initiative to drum up support for the recognition of the NUG.
Veteran union leader Datuk Mohamad Shafie BP Mammal, President of UNI MLC and the General Secretary of ASETUC, gave the welcome remarks on behalf of the trade unions. UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya moderated a panel session on “Doing Business in Myanmar”.
Datuk Mohamad Shafie further said, “I sincerely hope that our event gives the needed encouragement to our friends in Myanmar. And that it gives hope to the people of Myanmar who wants the international community to recognise the NUG as their rightful representative.”
The ARSD is a social dialogue traditionally held by tripartite partners in ASEAN on an annual basis that consolidates the responses of different social partners in the region on various issues and promotes a decent work agenda towards a people-centred ASEAN. This special edition of the ARSD was extended to include five of ASEAN’s major economic partners: Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
On 15 September, a day after the UN General Assembly, the Council of Global Unions (CGU) will launch a Global Day of Action to call on the intergovernmental organization to recognize the NUG.