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Home > Campaigns > Letters and Forms

 
 

Sample letter

to Canadian Mining Company

Send a letter to Ivanhoe Mines (or other Canadian mining companies in Burma)

Tell Them to

Stop Supporting Burma’s Brutal Military Regime!

Date

Mr. Robert Friedland
Ivanhoe Mines
Waterfront Centre
900-200 Burrard St
Vancouver, BC, V6N 3L6

Dear Mr. Friedland:

We are writing to express our deep concern regarding Ivanhoe Mines’ on-going investment in Burma which you are planning to expand in the near future. As you may be aware, foreign investment in Burma has serious ethical implications and is opposed by the Canadian government. We hope that you will join a growing list of companies that are publicly declaring their commitment not to do business with the military dictatorship of Burma and all of its affiliated companies and organizations.

Foreign companies that operate in Burma have no choice but to enter into business partnerships with companies either wholly or partially controlled by the military regime, and in so doing, help to prop up one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. In Ivanhoe Mines’ case, your Burmese partner is the Mining Enterprise #1, which like many companies in Burma is very likely linked to the heroin trade, which the Burmese junta promotes, protects and profits from. This was well exemplified in June 2000 when it was discovered that one of Wal-Mart Canada’s supply factories in Burma was owned by the notorious Burmese drug lord, Lo Hsing han.

A 1998 Commission of Inquiry by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) issued a report revealing the pervasive nature of forced labour in Burma, which is often accompanied by other severe abuses. Since then, the ILO has effectively expelled Burma and has issued an unprecedented resolution calling for all ILO members to review their relations with Burma to ensure that they are not contributing to the widespread system of forced labour in the country.

According to the Canadian Labour Congress, the Monywa mine, located in Sagaing Division, is linked to mass conscription of involuntary labour. According to the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation (ILO), 921,753 people were forced to build the railway connecting Monywa to the town of Pakokku. The Thazi dam hydroelectric plant which is the mine’s power source was built using 3,000-5,000 forced labourers.

Last June 2001, Canadian Labour Congress president, Ken Georgetti and Fred Higgs, General Secretary of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions stated “It is the position of the global labour movement that it is impossible to do business with the Burmese government or in Burma without subsidizing forced labour and other human rights violations. Certainly in the case of Ivanhoe’s partnership with the military junta, foreign investment is directly propping up the regime.”

Not only is your company helping to perpetuate the suffering of the people of Burma, but your business in Burma goes against the express wishes of Aung San Suu Kyi and her democratically elected party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). As you know, the NLD won 82% of the seats in the 1990 elections but is still prevented by the junta from taking office. The NLD continues to assert that foreign business in effect contributes to propping up the military dictatorship and not the majority of Burma’s citizens.

By committing not to do business with Burma, you would not only avoid supporting a brutal military regime, you may also avoid further tarnishing your company’s reputation by becoming a target of consumer pressure in the future. Over the past year, more than 23 companies in North America have ceased operating in Burma due to citizens’ advocacy campaigns in Canada and the United States.

We respectfully urge you to cease your commercial operations in Burma until the democratically elected leaders of that country determine that foreign investment can actually benefit the people of Burma and not the country’s cruel regime.

We look forward to your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

 


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Canadian Friends of Burma, 145 Spruce St. Suite 206, Ottawa, ON K1R 6P1
tel#: (613) 237-8056, fax#: (613) 563-0017