Myanmar: Clean Clothes Campaign shares solidarity statement & calls for EU withdrawal of preferential trade tariff
"Solidarity statement on the first anniversary of attempted coup in Myanmar", 1 February 2022
The Clean Clothes Campaign network stands in solidarity with the garment workers, trade unionists, labour rights activists and human rights defenders of Myanmar today, on the first anniversary of the attempted military coup, and every day. We use ‘attempted coup’ because the military junta have no legitimacy as the leaders of Myanmar; they have tried to take power by force but the people of Myanmar have bravely fought back and continue to risk their lives to stand up for their rights, their democracy and their freedom.
Those sourcing from Myanmar have a clear responsibility to ensure their actions do no harm and that they are taking concrete steps to protect workers. This means undertaking heightened, ongoing and context-specific due diligence that prioritises workers’ safety and rights. It means finding safe ways to engage directly with workers to hear their needs, and to respond to their demands. Brands due diligence needs to run through their whole value chain, not only their closest suppliers, and they need to follow the money at every stage to ensure that they are not inadvertently putting it into the hands of the military...
For brands that choose to disengage from Myanmar, they must do so responsibly, meaning they must honour all commitments and payments, and ensure that workers receive all wages, severance and benefits owed to them. A responsible exit does not mean simply pulling out of the country and turning their back on workers, but instead engaging wherever possible to protect rights and lives...
We call on the EU to withdraw the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade tariff which allows businesses in Myanmar to export goods tariff-free to the EU market (excluding weapons and ammunition). As a result of the EBA, more than half of Myanmar’s total garment production is exported to Europe. Thus far, the EU has employed targeted economic sanctions against the junta but we ask for this to be stepped up, with increased targeted sanctions against military-owned businesses, as well as with EBA withdrawal.