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 Media release from Green Left Canberra on 14th November 2000 Forum

                                     <canberra@greenleft.org.au>

 

 

Myanmar still refuses to officially admit that forced labor is a problem,

despite reams of evidence from rights groups and a 1998 ILO committee of inquiry

which found the practice was "widespread and systematic".

 

Refugees who escape over the border in Thailand tell depressingly consistent

accounts of military raids on villages, where even the old and infirm are

rounded up and put to work carrying weapons and supplies.

 

While their crops wither and livestock die, they are forced to work long

hours for no pay and insufficient food. And in the worst cases, those who are

unable to keep up are beaten or killed.

 

The SPDC directive is seen as speaking directly to the powerful military

commanders fighting insurgencies in Myanmar's north that the brutal practice

will not be tolerated.

 

Some commanders have argued that "portering" is a traditional practice that

 has been going on for centuries and which is vital to the operations of the

cash-strapped military"(AFP)

 

Find out more about the campaign to end forced labour in Burma - Green Left

Weekly public forum

 

- speakers -

 

Maung Maung Than - Free Burma Action Committee

 

Kerrie Tucker - ACT Greens, MLA for Molonglo

 

Jeremy Pyner - ACT Trades and Labour Council

 

Dave Gosling - Democratic Socialist Party

 

Tuesday November 14, 6:30pm

 

Manning Clark Centre Theatre 5, ANU

 

ph 62472424

 

November 30 is the deadline which the International Labour Organisation has

set for the Burmese regime to cease using forced labour.  On that day the

Burmese Community and their supporters will gather for a protest outside the

Burmese embassy in Canberra - 22 Arkana St Yarralumla, at 1pm.  Please come

and show your support for human rights and democracy in Burma.