In an escalation of the campaign to persuade companies to cut ties with Burma’s brutal military regime, the Burma Campaign UK has written to the Chief Executives of nearly 100 high street clothing retailers calling on them to stop manufacturing and sourcing from Burma.
The Burma Campaign UK has set a target of December 2003 for ‘cleaning’ the UK high street of clothing sourced from Burma. Clothing exports are a key source of income for the regime. Western manufacturers are attracted by wages as low as 60p a day. Workers have few rights and unions are banned.
“There is no way to source clothes from Burma without financing the dictatorship”, says Yvette Mahon, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Through their investment and the taxes they pay they are funding a regime that routinely uses guns, torture and rape to oppress its own people.”
Based on responses from retailers, the Burma Campaign UK will compile a ‘dirty list’ of companies refusing to give commitments not to source from Burma. These companies will then be the focus of high profile campaigns.
“Most responsible retailers, such as BHS, Arcadia, Diesel, H&M, Clarks and Fenwick, already have policies not to source from Burma, and deserve credit for doing so. Even Nike, ADIDAS and Levi’s don’t source there”, says Mahon. “Companies still sourcing from Burma are in for a nasty shock.”
In May this year Triumph closed its lingerie factory in Burma following a high profile campaign by Burma Campaign UK, which used the slogan ‘SUPPORT BREASTS, NOT DICTATORS’.