ASSK calls for ‘healthy scepticism’ about the rush to invest in Burma
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Thailand last week, Aung San Suu Kyi called for responsible investment in Burma, something the global union family has also called for. As Burma seems to be on a path towards democracy, western investors kept out for years by the Boycott Burma movement are now poised to flood into Burma. ASSK warned that, while Burma’s unemployed desperately need jobs and investment:
“We do not want investment to mean greater inequality. And we do not want investment to mean greater privileges for those already privileged.”
In her first trip outside Burma for 24 years, the leader of Burma’s opposition (who won the only free election Burma has had in half a century) challenged investors to be socially responsible. The TUC has joined global union demands for a code for responsible investment, to address issues like freedom of association, forced and child labour.
She also called for a focus on vocational training as well as higher education, particularly for young people, many of whom are losing hope of finding employment. “What I am afraid of is not so much joblessness as hopelessness.” And she added that:
“Optimism is good but it should be cautious optimism. I have come across reckless optimism. A little bit of healthy scepticism is in order.”
Aung San Suu Kyi will address the ILO Conference later this month before she visits the UK.