ILO demands release of Burmese forced labour activists

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has just finished its Spring meeting with a call to further action on forced labour in Burma, and for the release of those jailed for drawing attention to forced labour: U Zaw Htay, U Htay Aung, U Nyan Myint and Maung Thura Aung. The ILO's programme on forced labour in Burma has had only limited success – 84 children have been released from the army so far, for example - but this is better than any other UN activity on Burma.

The UK government supports the work of the ILO on forced labour, but has so far not supported union calls for a new ILO Commission of Enquiry on freedom of association in Burma, which is vital because, in the long run, only free trade unions operating in a democracy will eradicate forced and child labour in Burma. That is why the ILO also called for the release of jailed labour activists like Su Su Nway, U Min Aung, U Myo Aung Thant, U Thurein Aung, U Wai Lin, U Nyi Nyi Zaw, U Kyaw Kyaw, U Kyaw Win and U Myo Min.

Owen Tudor

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