Triumph under growing pressure to sever dealings with Myanmar

Forced labour is common in Myanmar Keystone Archive

The Swiss textile firm, Triumph, is coming under mounting pressure to cease production in Myanmar, formerly Burma. The military regime stands accused of running the country like a labour camp, where forced labour and torture are common.

This content was published on January 24, 2001 minutes

Two Swiss non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - the Berne Declaration and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)- have called on Triumph to immediately withdraw from Myanmar.

The United Nations says the country's military regime is guilty of gross human rights abuses, including forced labour and torture.

The CCC has taken the unusual step of calling for a boycott of Triumph stores. Last Friday, activists protested outside a Triumph store in Lausanne, calling on customers to shun its products.

The CCC's normal approach is to try and encourage better relations between employers and employees, but it says that in the case of Myanmar this is not possible.

A Triumph spokesman, Alois Hirzel, rejected the NGOs demands and denied that any forced labourers were employed in Triumph's factory in Myanmar.

He also defended Triumph's decision to operate in the country, saying that its 1,000 employees work in far better conditions than are otherwise usual in Myanmar.

Myanmar's ruling junta refused to hand over power after losing democratic elections in 1989. The UN says all dissent is immediately crushed and that summary executions and prison sentences are common.

swissinfo with agencies

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