MAC: Mines and Communities

Two statements prior to the Ivanhoe AGM on its position in Burma

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

Two statements prior to the 2002 Ivanhoe Annual General Meeting on its position in Burma

Heave-Ho Ivanhoe! Ivanhoe Mines Out of Burma!

Forwarded via Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network

Demonstration - Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Annual General Meeting

Tuesday June 25th 1:00 pm

Waterfront Hotel 900 Canada Place Vancouver

Ivanhoe Mines is a Canadian Company, which is in partnership with Burma's military dictatorship, one of the world's most brutal regimes. Ivanhoe's Monywa Copper Mine is the largest foreign mining investment in Burma today.

In partnering with the military junta, the Monywa mine is poised to become a massive income generator for Burma's military regime. The regime earns royalties and rent from Ivanhoe.

Burma's military regime has been systematically using forced labour countrywide on infrastructure projects - many of which are then utilized by foreign companies. Because forced labour is so prevalently used by the military regime in Burma, it's impossible to do business there without perpetuating this abuse.

The International Labour Organization took the strongest action it has ever taken against a member country - against Burma. The ILO called on its members - which include Canada - to impose sanctions against Burma.

Join the call for human rights and democracy in Burma.

For more information contact: Kyaw Thu Soe 604 873 1804

Myanmar: Ivanhoe Mines' operations must respect human rights

Amnesty International - 18 June 2002 AI Index: AMR 20/C07/2002

In advance of the upcoming Annual General Meeting of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. in Vancouver on 25 June, Amnesty International has challenged the company to take bold steps to improve the human rights situation in Myanmar. Since 1996 Ivanhoe has engaged in a joint venture, the Monywa Copper Mine, with the country's military government, notorious for its longstanding record of massive human rights violations.

"About 1,500 political prisoners are still being held, while political killings and forced labour continue to be reported in ethnic minority states", notes Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada's English Branch.

Ivanhoe's Statement of Values and Responsibilities endorses the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In public comments the company has stated that its support of human rights is "clear and forthright." Now is the time for action to match those fine statements. At Ivanhoe's AGM, Amnesty International calls on the company to lay down a clear human rights agenda for its operations in Myanmar, with commitments in five key areas:

(1) Agree to adhere to AI's Human Rights Principles for Companies*, including a process of monitoring and publicly reporting on compliance with the principles;

(2) Exercise considerable care with respect to security arrangements made with the military, including public insistence that soldiers comply with international human rights standards and adopting measures to screen out anyone responsible for human rights abuses in the past;

(3) Develop a meaningful and thorough process of community consultation about plans for expansion in Myanmar coupled with a mechanism that ensures benefits, involving royalties, flow through to the entire local community, and not just military middlemen and local elites;

(4) Adopt a method for providing ongoing reports of compliance with relevant International Labour Organization standards, including those dealing with forced labour, child labour and freedom of association; and

(5) Provide a voice for human rights reform in Myanmar, including by raising concerns publicly and with the government regarding the continuing detention of numerous prisoners of conscience and concerns about the treatment of ethnic minorities (including the Chin, who reside in the region where Ivanhoe operates).

If Ivanhoe chooses to do business with a government such as the one in power in Myanmar, it must act scrupulously to ensure it is part of the solution and not part of the problem. "Human rights are central to the solution in Myanmar", says Neve. "Ivanhoe must match its professed principles with its practice and put human rights at the centre of its operations."

* Amnesty International's Human Rights Principles for Companies can be reviewed at

For further information please contact Charles Conteh Media Relations Assistant (613) 744-7667 #228

News from the North American Regional Office of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions

Kenneth S. Zinn, North American Regional Coordinator

Tel: (202) 974-8080/Fax: (202) 974-8084

Joint Press Release of the Canadian Labour Congress and the ICEM

CLC Convention Calls on Canadian Government to Implement Full Sanctions on Corporate Investments in Burma

CLC and ICEM Tell Ivanhoe Mines to Withdraw from Burma

For Immediate Release

Ottawa and Washington, D.C., June 25-- As the Canadian-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (TSE: IVN) holds its annual shareholders meeting today in Vancouver, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) are urging the company to end its mining joint venture with the Burmese military regime and withdraw its investments from Burma.

Burma has received international condemnation as one of the world's worst violators of human rights-- including forced labour, child labour, trafficking in prostitution, and the imprisonment and torture of political dissidents. Ivanhoe's Monywa Copper Mine, located in Sagiang, is the largest foreign mining investment in Burma and has been linked to the mass conscription of forced labour as well as the severe environmental degradation of the surrounding area. According to the UN's International Labour Organization (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 mien's power source was built using 3,000-5,000 forced labourers.

While many multinational corporations have disinvested from Burma, including recently Texaco, Arco, PepsiCo, Eastman Kodak, Motorola, Best Western and most recently Marriott, the Monywa mine represents the largest ongoing Burmese investment of a Canadian-based corporation. At the Canadian Labour Congress' convention earlier this month, delegates passed a resolution resolving that "the CLC and its affiliates respond to the ILO's call by pressuring corporations to cease their activities in Burma and by urging the Canadian government to impose full economic sanctions against Burma."

"We are telling the Canadian government that its program of limited sanctions isn't sufficient," said CLC President Ken Georgetti. "Our members do not want Canadian corporations like Ivanhoe Mines given full sway to continue propping up Burma's brutal military regime. We believe that full economic sanctions on Burma are absolutely necessary until full democracy and trade union rights are restored."

The joint call of the two labour federations is part of a global initiative of trade unions to restore democracy and respect for human rights in Burma. In November 2000, the ILO took the extraordinary measure of urging its members to "review their relations with Burma" and "ensure that such relations do not perpetuate the system of forced or compulsory labour in that country." This has prompted an expanded effort among labour unions to urge foreign companies to withdraw from Burma.

"The ICEM and the global labour movement have made clear that we will not remain silent while multinational corporations prop up the Burmese dictatorship," said Fred Higgs, ICEM General Secretary. Higgs also noted the recent decision of a California Superior Court judge to allow a lawsuit against the American oil company Unocal to proceed to trial. The decision holds that Unocal may be held liable under the legal doctrine known as "vicarious liability" for forced labour and other abuses committed by its joint venture partner, the Burmese government, in the construction of the Yadana gas field in southern Burma.

"Ivanhoe shareholders should take notice of the significant potential material liabilities facing Unocal for its alleged complicity with forced labour in Burma and take immediate measures to preserve shareholder value by discontinuing Ivanhoe's use of one of the world's worst human violators as a business partner," said Higgs.

The Ivanhoe shareholders meeting coincides with renewed hope that the global campaign for democracy and human rights in Burma is beginning to produce results. Burma democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was recently released from eighteen months of house arrest and immediately called for a continuation of economic pressure on the Burmese regime.

Union members are joining together with Burmese refugees, religious and human rights activists in a demonstration today outside of Ivanhoe's shareholders' meeting in Vancouver.

"The struggle for human and workplace rights in Burma is a high priority for our union. Our members are protesting today to tell Ivanhoe that it is time for it to do the right thing and cut its ties with the repressive regime in Burma," said Brian Payne, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

"The long overdue recent release of Burma democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a positive sign, but the military junta has yet to show that it is genuinely changing," added Lawrence McBrearty, Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers of America. "We will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters in Burma's beleaguered trade union and pro-democracy movements until full freedom without curbs or harassment is allowed."

The ICEM is a global trade union federation uniting 20 million workers in over 400 affiliated unions in 110 countries. The CLC represents 2.3 million working Canadians and their families. It is the voice of Canada's labour movement, bringing together the majority of the country's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial labour federations.

For further information:

Ken Zinn, ICEM: 202-974-8080
Jean Wolff, CLC: 613-798-6040


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