Narinjara news



FORCED LABOUR IN RUBBER PLANTATIONS IN ARAKAN STATE

Ponnagyun, 2 March 02:      
In the military rubber plantations in the south western state of Burma villagers have been used as forced labourers, our correspondent quoted a school headmaster.
        
At Thaydow village of Ponnagyun township of Arakan State the armed forces have been using the villagers of the neighbouring villages including Thaydow, Kanangdaung, Yotoyoke, and Porhigung  as forced labourers without paying anything to the workers.  Besides, one of the villagers alleged that, they have to bring their own food to work in the more than 300 acre rubber plantation while they have to clear the plantation of weeds and unnecessary undergrowths twice a year.

Shortly before the visit of the ILO delegation in Arakan State in the last week of September last year, the Khawata district administration and military officials from Sittwe(Akyab)  came to Thaydaw village and called on the villagers from nearby villages and ordered them not to tell anything to the ILO delegates about the forced labour in the area.  They also warned of dire consequences if anyone should report about the forced labour.

Since the ILO delegates did not come to the area, recently the armed forces have again started using forced labour in the rubber plantation to clear the undergrowth. 

The rubber plantation is owned by No. 9 Operational area command headquarters stationed at Sittwe.  The plantation was entirely made by the use of forced labour from the neighbouring villages in 1997.  #