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Junta, ILO to print leaflets against forced labour


New Delhi (Mizzima) – In a first, the International Labour Organisation in Rangoon and the junta’s Labour Ministry will jointly distribute literature on forced labour in Burma at the end of the month, a source close to the UN workers’ rights body said. 

The decision to distribute leaflets in the battle against forced labour came out of a meeting in the national capital Naypyidaw on April 30, attended by an International Labour Organisation (ILO) team led by liaison officer Steve Marshall, and Deputy Minister of Labour Brigadier General Tin Tun Aung.

“All the texts in the publications have been approved. We can distribute them after the layout design and printing next week,” a person close to the ILO told Mizzima.

“The literature explains what forced labour is, what it is not, how to lodge complaints … and where to lodge such complaints. It also explains the element of  secrecy and security of complainants of forced labour.” 

The émigré Federation of Trade Unions of Burma welcomed the distribution but said it would be insufficient for its claimed purpose, calling it a “token gesture”. 

“[Such an] accommodation on forced-labour issues by the junta is just a token gesture,” federation joint general secretary Dr. Zaw Win Aung said. “They are compelled to do it as they will face serious debate on the forced-labour issue being practised in Burma at the July ILO meeting. So they want to showcase something like this as [a sign of] compliance with the ILO.”

“It will not be effective and fruitful if it is just … superficial. The laws need to be enacted to tackle all the forced-labour cases effectively. The perpetrators of forced labour should be punished in accordance with the law. ” he added.  

On the front page of the six-page booklet’s top-left corner is the logo of the Labour Ministry. The ILO logo is at top-right. The leaflets will be in English and Burmese and, to reach urban and rural areas, will be distributed through NGOs and government departments. The cost of the leaflets will be borne by the ILO.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 May 2010 17:26 )  

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