Norway tells firms to boycott Burma

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The Independent Online
Norway's government yesterday urged companies to boycott Burma because of human rights violations by its military dictatorship.

"Burma is one of the world's worst military dictatorships. Maybe the worst," said Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik at a news conference. He said the government would consider stronger measures if Norwegian companies did not respect the request. "I hope the companies involved get the message," he said. "We don't trade with Burma."

Burma has been under various military governments since a coup in 1962. Its generals ignored a 1990 election victory by the opposition. Norwegian concern about Burma has remained high since the country's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; she was under house arrest in Burma and prevented from coming to Oslo to receive the prize.

A boycott by Norway would be more symbolic than economic. Mr Bondevik said only a handful of businesses trade with Burma, with annual exports of about 1 million kroner (pounds 430,000) a year, and imports of about 8 million kroner

- AP, Oslo