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HomeNewsTwo die during forced labour session in Bago

Two die during forced labour session in Bago

Feb 16, 2009 (DVB), Two brothers from Gwaygon village in Kyauktada township, Bago division, died on 3 February when the pit they were working in collapsed, according to rights lawyer Aye Myint.

Myint Than, Thaung Shwe and Pe Thee of the village authorities and school construction committee were responsible for collecting money from villagers to build a school, a villager said.

They also forced villagers to excavate sand and gravel for the school construction work.

"Last year, they collected money for the building of the school," the villager said.

"This year, they demanded 15 tin of gravel and 15 tin of sand from each family," he said.

"They also forced people to take part in forced labour sessions once every five or six days."

Min Oo, 30, and his 22-year-old brother Myint Aung were killed while collecting the sand for their family's donation.

"In order to get the assigned 15 tins each, Ko Min Oo and Ko Myint Aung were digging by a lake," the villager said.

"Their pit became a tunnel as it became deeper and the roof collapsed and both of them died. Their mother is now half-mad with the trauma."

Aye Myint of the Guiding Star legal aid group said the authorities had paid no compensation to their mother Tin Ngwe and took back the 20,000 kyat they had given her for funeral expenses after villagers donated money to cover the costs.

Despite an official edict outlawing forced labour in Burma, Aye Myint said there had been three incidents of forced labour in Bago division in January alone.

"Before we contacted your broadcasting station and the [International Labour Organisation], we contacted the military security corps, the intelligence branch concerned, and informed them in advance so they could make amends," Aye Myint said.

"But no one has been prosecuted to this day. They are suppressing it for fear that higher authorities will find out about it," he said.

"I will go to the ILO office with the victims [or their families] this coming week so that they receive compensation."

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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