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AFP-ILO criticizes Myanmar for fail

Subject: AFP-ILO criticizes Myanmar for failing to tackle forced labour

   ILO criticizes Myanmar for failing to tackle forced labour

   GENEVA, May 25 (AFP) - The International Labour Organization Tuesday
berated Myanmar for failing to make concerted efforts to clamp down on
widespread forced labour.
   An ILO commission of enquiry in a report issued last August found that
compulsory labour in Myanmar was practiced in a "systemtic manner with a
disregard for the human dignity, safety and health" of the people.
   The commission urged Myanmar authorities to end forced labour,
by the military, to enforce strict penalties on those who did not comply,
to bring its national laws into line with the relevant ILO convention on the
   "Nearly one year later, little has changed," the ILO said in a
newly-released report.
   Myamar authorities have not amended any laws in line with commission
recommendations, proposed any new laws or taken steps to punish those
forced labour, the report said.
   Moreover, information provided by member states, workers' and employers'
organizations points to the "continued widepsread use of forced labour by
authorities, in particular the military," the report said.
   Thousands of villagers continue to be pressed into work as porters,
messengers or as labourers on roads, railways, bridges and farms.
   Among the evidence cited are hundreds of written official orders from the
army or civil administration, the ILO said.
   The commission was barred from entering Myanmar, relying instead on
interviews with more than 250 eye-witnesses in neighbouring countries and
collecting more than 6,000 pages of documents.
   Forced labour had direct and indirect social and economic consequences,
report said.
   It referred to information received by the UN refugee agency according to
which families have resorted to sending children to perform labour in place
adults in an effort not to disrupt those in paying jobs.