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