UnionAID Fact Sheet 5 Supporting real change: Burma
Forced labour in Burma The International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency, charges Burma's regime with a 'crime against humanity' for its widespread and systematic use of forced labour. The evidence to the ILO has been gathered and presented by the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) with support from the international trade union movement. Unions are outlawed in Burma. The ILO describes how men, women, children and the elderly are forced to work on roads, railways and other construction projects. They also face punishments which include "money demands, physical abuse, beatings, torture, rape and murder." The Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB) The FTUB was formed in 1991 by exiled workers and students. It aims to uphold democracy and human rights, establish free trade unions and achieve equal distribution of wealth by emphasizing equal opportunity. It undertakes work covertly in Burma (where it is an illegal organisation) and with migrant workers in neighbouring countries. The ethnic minorities Much of the human rights abuse is against Burma's ethnic minorities who inhabit areas along the country's mountainous frontiers. The umbrella body for pro‐ democracy organisations, the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), aims to bring about a federal democracy that guarantees equality to all ethnic groups.
During my period as UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, I received incontrovertible evidence that forced labor, the forcible conscription of child soldiers; torture and rape as a weapon of war are widespread and systematic in Myanmar. Since that time, the evidence has grown stronger. It is claimed by the Thailand-Myanmar Border Consortium that as many as 3,500 villages have been destroyed in eastern Myanmar since 1996. Villagers have been used as human minesweepers, forced to walk through fields of landmines to clear them for the military, often resulting in loss of their limbs and sometimes their lives in the process. Yozo Yokota