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A coalition of nine EU and US initiatives linked to the garment, footwear and accessories industry has released a joint statement expressing profound concern over the ongoing unrest in Myanmar resulting from the military coup that took place on 1 February, 2021.
The group – consisting of American Apparel & Footwear Association, amfori, ETI Sweden, Ethical Trading Initiative, Ethical Trade Norway, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, Initiative for Compliance and Sustainability and Social Accountability International – calls for an end to the military’s continued and increasingly violent crackdown against its own people, including against leaders of unions and labour rights organisations.
The garment, footwear and accessories sector is a huge source of employment in Myanmar, with nearly 600 factories employing 500,000 workers. The coup puts at risk the hard-fought social and economic progress of the country as well as the well-being of its people, including many already-vulnerable garment workers.
The coalition urges companies sourcing from Myanmar to safeguard workers’ safety, economic security and rights to peaceful protest without penalisation. Further, brands and their suppliers are encouraged to identify and sever any ties to companies linked to the Burmese military services. That being said, companies should strive to honour existing commitments made to factories and ensure workers are paid for the work they do.
Fair Wear and its fellow initiatives hopes for the restoration of peace and democracy in Myanmar. We encourage the international community to come together to collaborate and push for responsible action and support for the people of Myanmar.
Read the statement in full here.
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