Picket calls for Burma boycott

April 8, 1998

Picket calls for Burma boycott

By Liam Mitchell

SYDNEY — A picket by 20 Burmese activists and their supporters on March 25 asked Australians not to travel to Burma to protest the Burmese junta's poor human rights record.

The picket, called by the All Burma Students' Democratic Organisation and the National Union of Students, was held outside a travel exhibition sponsored by Intrepid Travel and Classic Oriental Travel; both companies organise expeditions to Burma.

Tourism operators use accommodation in Burma controlled by the State Peace and Development Council, the ruling regime.

Burma has 3000 political prisoners. The regime uses tourism to give it legitimacy, yet slave labour is used to build and maintain tourism facilities.

Ethnic groups have been forced to "relocate" to make way for golf courses and tourist attractions. Many have been moved to "ethnic zoos" where they are displayed for tourists.

The Burma solidarity movement and political opposition hope the boycott will isolate the regime. The boycott includes tourism operators claiming to run "independent" tours and the Burmese regime's Myanmar Airlines.

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