ILO still receives reports of rights abuses in Burma

Nov 14, 2008 (DVB)-An official of the International Labour Organisation said the body’s liaison officer in Rangoon continued to receive reports of forced labour and conscription in Burma.

Kari Tapiola, Executive Director of the ILO also said the report will be submitted and discussed during the ongoing 303rd session of its Governing Body.

"The complaints continue and mostly the cases children recruited into the army, illegally. Those cases, by and large, have been solved," said Tapiola.

"There is a big need for awareness raising and information activities in the country. We don't reach very far outside Yangon (Rangoon)," he admitted.

"The problem is those in jail are continued to be in jail. So, none of the people whom we have been following, has been released."

He added that the ILO has also been trying to work on disaster relief in Cyclone Nargis affected Irrawaddy delta region without the Burmese authorities using forced labour, but he didn’t elaborate on how it could be achieved.

"It is important that rebuilding is done so that there is no forced labour," Tapiola said.

"There is nobody in jail directly because of something that they would have done with the ILO now. But there are people who are in jail with whom we have had contact earlier. Like U Thet Wai, like Su Su Nway," he insited.

"Over the last ten years, there have been some progress. There had been setbacks during these years also. What we see is the problem remains."

"We are not at this moment in a position to really assess results. The government said there is less forced labour but we feel that it has been very difficult for people to complain."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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