Intervento all'OIL del Segr. Gen. FTUB, Maung Maung
Maung Maung
General secretary FTUB

Special Session on Burma: Violation of Convention 29

Thank you Chair,


Since the last 2004 Conference special Session the political and social situation for the Burmese people has worsened and has become more and more precarious.

The  Peace Nobel Prize Aung San Suu Kiy  not only will in few days celebrate her 60th anniversary  in house arrest, but remains totally incommunicado.

After the internal coup which destituted General Kyn Nyunt and most of the Military Intelligence, the repressive situation all over the country has dramatically worsened, particularly in ethnic areas and along the borders, where there is an increase of violence from the army.

The national Convention, that both the Burmese democratic and ethnic organizations, as well as many governments, considered illegal,  has been suspended with no significant development even under the junta conditions.


 While also Shwe Mahn has been finally  released after the requests of the GB, the Minister of labor in the recent letter to the DG,  still accused him of high treason. We cannot accept that such accusation remains pending on this trade union representative.

In the last recent months  we were able to collect hundreds of further cases of forced labour, not only from the border areas, where the army uses forced labourers as porters and mine sweepers, but through out the country. Massive number of people are involved in the same projects. Among these I can recall that the Chairman of SPDC of Myawaddi township in Karen state gave instructions, and  obliged 6 villages, with a total of more that 2.000 people, to implement summer rice cultivation for the SPDC.

In Chin State, The Military  government is constructing the No 2 India- Burma Border trade Road,  by using the people of 10 villages. Military authorities summoned each person from every household to go and work at that road.  No one has been paid for such work : army also used the prisoner labour from Kalay prison at the road work side.  They treated the prisoners like animals and not enough food was provided.

 Timely, during the last March GB, in a crowded press conference organized in Rangoon by the junta, the Director General of the Ministry of Labour: U Soe Nyunt , strongly attacked publicly the ILO,  declaring that the ILO developed arbitrary, one-sided pressure on Myanmar by siding with expatriate destructionists. The junta representative also underlined that, and I quote: “Myanmar people have the tradition of contributing voluntary labour with religious faith. Eradication of forced labour affects this tradition. As some do not understand the tradition of Myanmar, we have to suffer traditional cultural loss.” End of quote.

What is mostly worrying is that since last June a number of persons that went to report to the Liaison officer, on cases of forced labour have been arrested, and detained. The Director General of the Department of Labour also mentioned that measures and legal actions under the criminal court will be taken, as deterrent against false complaints being lodged. Such decision is very worrying, also because already the vast majority of cases raised by the Liaison officers have been declared  false.

It is therefore more than urgent that the Committee takes immediate steps to counteract such unacceptable initiative by the junta and to develop mechanism enabling victims of forced labour to seek and obtain redress, with full guarantees of security against reprisals and dissuasive sanctions imposed on the culprits, thus contributing to the fight against impunity.

Also I urge both governments and employers to follow up the decisions of the November Governing Body, particularly in relation to  Foreign direct investments in all their forms. It is clear that any economic dealing with the regime, or contributing to its stability, ultimately perpetuates forced labour.

Any organization, IFI or private investment fund that deal with the regime or its enterprises, should be urged to stop immediately .

More over it is of an outstanding importance to strengthen the ILO offices and its field capacity. Full freedom of movement and access to the people outside Rangoon can contribute for the ILO to make the difference.

In conclusion Mr Chair, I have been addressing this honourable assembly for many years now. The moment is serious. I beg your committee to have the courage to stand up and claim its refusal to accept such behaviour. I urge this committee to take the necessary measures which would allow the ILO, its constituents and other international organisations to force the junta to respect the fundamental human  right not to be subjected to forced labour.