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16 Mar 2021

Myanmar: Female garment workers & union leaders at forefront of pro-democracy protests call on international brands to protect workers in their supply chains

Female garment workers and union leaders have emerged as leaders in the pro-democracy protests following the military coup in Myanmar. The country’s garment industry has grown rapidly since the removal of international sanctions in 2016 and the country now exports garments to major global fashion brands.

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military seized power in a coup d'etat, overthrowing the country's democratically elected government and detaining the leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, along with cabinet ministers, opposition parliamentarians and activists.

Union leaders and labour rights activists representing the country’s largely female garment sector workforce have been central voices in the civil disobedience movement that emerged following the coup. They have called on major global brands sourcing from the region to condemn the coup and uphold the rights of workers in their supply chains.