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NEWS - Myanmar Says Allegations of

Subject: NEWS - Myanmar Says Allegations of Forced Labor Are a

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NOTE: They claim all the labor was voluntary. Yes it was, someone Must
volunteer or someone will be beaten, forced to pay money to take/hire
another porter/worker, etc.,etc.

Myanmar Says Allegations of Forced Labor Are a Misunderstanding


               YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Allegations of forced labor in
Myanmar are largely the
               result of misunderstandings, the head of military
intelligence said today. 

               Gen. Khin Nyunt, one of the four most powerful generals
in the military government,
               made his comments in the opening address of the 13th
ASEAN Labor Ministers
               Meeting in Yangon. 

               "In our efforts to improve our infrastructure, the
building of roads, bridges, rail
               networks, dams and reservoirs had been undertaken, and
realizing the benefits to
               the community, people have voluntarily contributed
labor," Khin Nyunt said. 

               "In Myanmar thinking, contribution of labor not only
brings immediate material
               benefit in the present life, but also merit for future
life cycles," he said. 

               Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a predominantly Buddhist
nation, and many
               Buddhists believe in reincarnation. 

               International labor unions and human rights groups have
criticized ASEAN for
               holding its meeting in Myanmar. The United Nations,
Amnesty International and
               Human Rights Watch accuse the military government of
using forced labor for
               infrastructure projects. 

               "ASEAN government ministers are meeting to discuss labor
issues in a country
               where thousands of people are routinely seized and forced
to work against their will
               and trade unionists are jailed," Amnesty International,
the London-based human
               rights group, said in a news release. 

               "The time has come for ASEAN to live up to the promise it
made when admitting
               Myanmar in 1997 to lead efforts for change in that
country," it said. 

               Khin Nyunt said that because most ethnic insurgencies had
ended, so had the

               practice of forced labor, and that soldiers were now
doing most of the construction

               ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,
consists of Brunei,
               Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the
Philippines, Thailand,
               Singapore and Vietnam.