Human Rights Foundation of Monland
I. ILO’s Actions on Burma
II. Breach of “rule of law” in
III. SPDC’s attempts to misinform about the cases of forced labour
IV. Requisition of forced labour in recent months
A. Forced labour for porter service,
B. Forced labour in battalions’ works
C. Forced labour in new military deployment
E. Forced labour for security purposes
SLORC - State Law and Order Restoration Council
SPDC - State Peace and Development Council
LIB - Light Infantry Battalion
IB - Infantry Battalion
USDA - Union Solidarity and Development Association (SPDC supported group)
ILO - International Labour Organization
ILC - International Labour Conference
KNLA - Karen National Liberation Army
Tatmadaw- Burmese Army in Burmese language
Lote-ar-pay – Requisition of forced labour in Burmese language
In coming September 2001, ILO (International Labour Organization) plans to send a High-Level Team to Burma to investigate whether the regime, SPDC and its local administration authorities and armed force (tatmadaw) members have stopped the practices of requisition of forced labour (the so-called lote-ar-pay) in many parts of Burma.
our local HURFOM (Human Rights Foundation
of Monland) human rights workers’ reports, the requisition of forced labour
have still continued in many rural areas of
additional order issued by SPDC’s Ministry of Home Affairs supplementing to the
order 1/99, to stop requisition of forced labour, most administration
authorities in lower part of
the month from to June to July before ILO High-Level Team to
Under the rule of military regime, the local authorities or military commanders have the highest authority in their respective control area. They could do what they liked without caring the existing laws and orders. In period under the rule of the then regime, SLORC and the current SPDC, the regime could adopt their administrative power in towns and villages by relying on their military battalions or commanders in the area. Most parts of rural areas are under SPDC semi-control and therefore, it remained dependent on military battalions in these area. Thus, justice and rule of law could not come into existence in these area for several years.
In many cases, after SPDC’s order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order, the civilians in both urban and rural areas have not protected according to the orders and laws. The authorities have not explained the detail description of these orders to the people and orders have been just for a show to ILO and international organizations. The authorities and members of armed force have not shown interest on these orders and the higher authorities also have not made much input above their subordinates to follow these orders. While SPDC distributed October 2000 order, it reached only to headmen in village tracts and villages in rural areas and SPDC authorities in urban area, but the explanation of this order to civilians were conducted in many places.
receiving October order, although members of SPDC administrative authorities
reduced the practices of requisition of forced labour or conducted more secret
requisitions of forced labour, but tatmadaw
members who have a high authority in every respective area, have still
conscripted compulsory labour from the civilians in rural areas. Tatmadaw
members have conscripted many rural civilians as porters during their
military operation and offensives against rebel armed forces in southern part
the new military employment, the concerned military regiments in rural areas by
cooperating with the local village authorities have still forced the villagers
to build their military barracks, tactical commander office and other
infrastructure in recent months in
Even SPDC is increasing its troop numbers in Mon State and Karen State, still tatmadaw troops could not provide security for motor road, railway road, river way and bridges. As a result, they still force the local civilians to provide security in these places and instructed them to inform the nearest army base about the activities of rebel troops.
Why are these types of requisition of forced labour occurring after SPDC’s supplementing October 2000 order? Actually, the military regime, SPDC has no strong commitment to put in place the definite frame works of legislative, executive and administrative measures or have not taken actions against its military men, who violated laws and orders described in October 2000. Thus, the violation of requisition of forced labour continued ever after October 2000.
the laws that prohibited all sorts of the requisition of forced labour (lote-ar-pay), have
existed in legislative measures, but in practice, the regime has not
implemented the laws sincerely. Since
November 2000 till the special sitting of ILO on
Because of lack of legal system and justice, the villagers who suffered from the requisition of forced labour have no place to file or complain their cases ever they knew and understood the orders. They also faced no safe situation if they talked about the army’s abuses even to their village headmen. The village headmen themselves who knew the order could not refuse when the army requested labour from their villages. Thus, both 1/99 order and supplementing October 2000 order are not so effective in rural area.
All the time before ILC (International Labour Conference) Special Sitting on Burma, the higher authorities and military intelligence (MI) already knew there was requisition of forced labour in many parts of rural area, however, they have no seeable attempts to stop forced labour. Instead, now, the authorities tried to close down all cases of forced labour and attempts to shut the mouths of civilians to not say true happenings in the recent months.
ILC (International Labour Conference) Special
recent June and July, before ILO team arrived to
There were many evidences that the local authorities have arranged such meetings with local villagers.
An evidence in
May 26 and 27, 2001, in Karen State, five members group of Kawkareik Township
authorities led by Township Secretary U Aung Lin went to five villages in
township area and hold meeting with village civilians. They went to Kha-rit, Kaw-go, Kaw-bein,
Kaw-pauk and Min-ywa villages and hold meetings with them. In meetings, the authorities explained to
villagers that the authorities would not use longer for lote-ar-pay (requisition of forced labour) in rural area according
to order 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order. After explanation about the order, he also
added that some foreigners would come to
After meeting, the authorities collected for each village 8, 000 Kyat from headmen for their expenses of traveling, films and developing photos. So that the authorities received about 40, 000 Kyat totally from five villagers for their expenses during two days trip. Then, the village headmen have to collect from the villagers again.
Another evidence in
In first week of June, SPDC ordered Mon State authorities to hold meetings with civilians in ten townships (in two districts, namely Moulmein District and Thaton District), and instructed to explain about the order of No. 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order.
all level of
some places of
About , the authorities said the meeting completed and declared for closing of the meeting. After the villagers returned, they asked village PDC authorities and some USDA members to stay on. Then, when Township authorities asked whether there was lote-ar-pay, village authorities and USDA members replied there was no demand of forced labour and tax fund instead of labour. They also recorded the questions and answers with a mini tape recorder. Then, they also selected three USDA members to be representatives to meet with foreigners who would come and question about forced labour.
From June 4 to June 7 for four days, Moulmein Township authorities hold meetings in many town wards and explained about the order of 1/99 and supplementing October 2000 order.
On June 5, in a meeting held in “Shwe-myaing-thiri” ward, Chairman of Ward SPDC authorities explained a crowd of civilians from the ward that now the regime was planning to stop all requisition of forced labour according to its order No. 1/99 and additional October 2000 order. Then, he said that if the foreigners come and the people in the ward about lote-ar-pay and tax collection to build roads in wards, they must answer to those foreigners that there was no lote-ar-pay and tax for road construction in the recent months. He added that if someone tell to foreigners that there was lote-ar-pay and tax payment for road and other constructions, that person must be punished. But he did not mention what types of punishment.
The similar meetings were also held in other city wards, such as, Kyaik-pha-nae, Thiri-myaing, Shwe-taung, Mayan-gone and Myaing-tha-yar, and civilians in these wards were also forced to tell the foreigners there was no lote-ar-pay, and tax collection for road and other constructions.
Sometimes, the authorities have discussed in secret way and instructed the village headmen if the foreigners come and ask them about requisition of forced labour or lote-ar-pay, they must have to answer NO to them.
As an evidence,
On May 1, 2001 (May Day), Township Worker Association (SPDC control Trade Unions) in Kawkareik Township called a meeting with headmen from three Mon villages, namely, Kha-rit, Kaw-ka-taw and Kyauk-ye-twin villages and forced them to say there was no forced labour and no tax collection for road and other construction instead of labour requested by authorities and army from their villages. Three headmen from Kharit village, Nai Tin Aung, Nai Khin Maung Win and Nai Ka; two headmen from Kaw-ka-taw village, Nai Maung Hla and Nai Tin Shein; and one headman from Kyauk-ye-twin village, Nai Mon Than attended the meeting. In the meeting, the authorities instructed them that they must say there was no lote-ar-pay and tax collection and let them practise how to say. Then, the SPDC worker authorities asked them questions whether there was forced labour and tax collection in recent months, they have to answer that “no forced labour and no tax instead of labour”. The authorities also recorded questions and their answers with a mini tape recorder.
These are SPDC forced labour and additionally, the civilians are forced to not tell true to ILO High-Level Team. preparation to close down information that connected to all cases of its requisition of
Like other many SPDC administrative bodies, members of Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) received 1/99 order and supplementing October 2000 order to not make any requisition of forced labour from civilians. However, at the same time, they also received order from the concerned military commands to operate military activities and to launch offensives against rebel armies.
southern part of
From 28th May to 6th June, when two military battalions of Burmese Army, IB No. 61 and LIB No. 299 changed their deployment in Three Pagoda Pass, a border town with Thailand, in southern part of Burma, the soldiers used about 40 villagers from Ye Township area as civilian porters during their operations, according to a source from Three Pagoda Pass.
Before the operation started on 28th
May, IB No. 61 battalion, which bases are in Ye Town, ordered the village
headmen from 10 villages in northern part of township to provide 40 villagers
to carry their ammunitions and food supplies for soldiers when they moved from
Ye Town to
Additionally, the civilians in Ye town have to pay porter fee to hire about 24 porters for their quota. They paid money to IB No. 61 commanders and that battalion also hired some porters. The battalion has to pay 8000 Kyat for each porter and there are 8 town wards in Town. Each Town ward had to take responsibility to provide 3 porters and collected 24, 000 Kyat from civilians.
Villager porters collected by headmen
had to go IB No. 61 battalion GHQs in Ye and then IB
No. 61’s troops picked them up on 28th May and moved to
During April and May, one of SPDC battalion, IB No. 109, which is under the control of Southeast Command, had operated military activities to attack against KNLA troops in eastern part of Kya Inn Seikyi township and along Three Pagoda Pass – Thanbyuzayat motor road.
April 4, 2000, when IB No. 109 troops arrived at Chaung-zon village, after 10
kilometers far from Three Pagoda Pass town, they arrested 10 trucks, which were
on motor road proceeded to Thanbyuzayat town and forced drivers of these trucks
to carry and bring their soldiers, ammunitions and food supplies to a village
called Mae-za-lee, about 30 kilometers from Chaung-zon. Although truck drivers worried the shooting
from KNLA soldiers, but they have no choice and had to go along dangerous part
battalion troops just moved around in the area and took porters from the
villages they arrived or arrested the travelers who were on the road. On
previous two battalions, many other military battalions, who have duties to
launch military patrol in a specific area also have arrested many number of
porters in rural area and forced them to carry ammunitions and food supplies
for the army. As an instance, on
Both Southeast Command and Coastal Region Military Command ordered their subordinate military battalions to create “self-reliance” program, especially, to find paddy growing farms and some plantations to have a regular income to support their soldiers and families who stay in the battalions. The following cases are how some military battalions have used forced labour in recent months.
Sometimes, the soldiers forced the headmen to send the villagers on a daily basis to do daily works in their bases such as cooking, carrying water, collecting fire-woods, etc. The villagers would not get any payment for their works in the battalions.
In the first and second week of April, the villagers from Kanni, Kaw-lyan, Meegalone, Chaung-phar, Kha-rit, Daw-phar and Kyone-doe village tracts, Kawkareik Township of Karen State, were forced to reap paddy grains in LIB No. 545 and No. 546’s paddy farms. These battalions had grown about 300 acres of dry-seasonal paddy crop by taking water from Gyaing river which is close to their farms.
Since the beginning of cultivation, the authorities have forced the villagers from these village tracts, to plough the lands, to grow small paddy plants, to take water with pump engines into farms until they could reap the paddy. These battalions also collected fund from villagers to buy fertilizers and gasoline for their use in cultivation.
On June 22, a police officer who base in Kha-rit village, Kaw-kareik Township, rebuilt a barrack and ordered the villagers from Kyauk-ye-twin, Nyar-chan-gone and Kyaikabin, to send 25 bamboo from each village. Therefore, about 30 villagers from three villagers have to carry bamboo for 4-5 miles distance, from their villages to police base. They did not get any payment and were not fed with foods.
recent months, the Burmese Army or SPDC has deployed more military battalions
Whenever a new military battalion is deployed in one area, the regime confiscated some available lands for that battalion to have enough lands to build all required buildings, to grow some trees and vegetables, to build bankers and dig canals and for other matters.
Additionally, in building military barracks and other infrastructure for the existence of military battalion, the civilians nearby are constantly forced by soldiers to contribute their labour in building or to provide building materials for which they have to contribute their manual labour outside of military camp.
late March 2001, SPDC’s two new military battalions, LIB No. 548 and LIB No.
549, under the command of Southeast
Command planned to deploy their troops in Phaya-ngote-to village in
On March 25, LIB No. 548’s Commander, Lt. Col. Khin Maung Win, called a meeting with village headmen from 9 villages from Yale, Da-none, Sin-boke-inn, Htee-pa-lay, Phaya-note-to, Kyaik-round, Ah-kyar, Ze-zone and Kalort-taw-chaung and ordered them to send villagers from their villages to contribute labour for new battalions’ construction.
Lt. Col. Khin Maung Win ordered the headmen that 20 villagers from big village and 10 villagers from small villages had to go every day and work in their base. The headmen had to manage to send the villagers on a rotation basis for every day. If the men could not go to the battalion’s construction site, the women had to go instead. The villagers in the area had to work for two weeks.
In Ye Township area, SPDC planned to deploy about 10 military battalions to put them under the command of No. 19 Operational Control Command that bases in eastern part of Ye township, along Ye river. Currently, No. 19 Command planned to build 2 battalions, LIB No. 583 and LIB No. 591.
On July 7, 2001, No. 19 Command’s commander Col. Than Toe, LIB No. 583 commander, Lt. Col. Soe Naing and LIB No. 591 commander, Lt. Col. Myo Win, called a meeting with village headmen from 19 big and small from Kyaung-ywar and Tu-myaung village tracts and explained them they needed to build 3 barracks to use as Tactical offices. The commanders said two big villages, Kyaung-ywa and Mi-chaung had to build one building each and other small villages had to build one remaining building.
On July 10, Kyaung-ywa started building the tactical office with the contribution of villagers’ labour and the village headman also had to hire a carpenter with payment collected from the villagers. The carpenter produced design of building and give instruction to villagers how to build.
most parts of rural and city like
Additionally, the SPDC authorities including the tatmadaw commanders in the area also involved in forcing the civilians to contribute their labour in building roads, to crush stones, lay pieces of stones and other works. Sometimes, the authorities forced trucks including drivers to carry stones, tar and other facilities to work places from distance places. The authorities never paid transportation cost for those trucks and drivers.
In a road construction in Kyaikmayaw Township of Mon State, which is called Kyaikmayaw – Chaung-htit-kwa motor road, not only the civilians in Township are forced to work in the construction, but the authorities forced trucks and drivers in Kawmayaw and other township area.
When the trucks arrived to work place, they were instructed to load on and about 450 kyins of pieces of stones for each truck from several places where the civilians in the area have collected, carry them to designated construction sites. One kyin of stones is the volume of 100 cubic feet. One truck could load only about 2 kyins in one trip and most trucks have to take 15-20 days to complete their duties. The authorities did not provide these trucks for their gasoline expenses and labour cost.
At the beginning of this year, the authorities in Ye Township planned to build a motor road from Ye town to Kyaung-ywa village, which is about 10 miles far from town. In building this motor road, the authorities had not only already collected fund from the civilians, but also conscripted labour from the civilians nearby.
March, Kyaung-ywa village tract authorities ordered the villagers from
In March and April 2001, IB No. 82 battalion that bases in Pa-an Township forced the civilians from Ein-du, Zarthapyin, Kaw-kyaik, Thaya-gone, Kyayar and Kyone-phae villages to construct a 4 miles long road, that connects Zarthapyin and Ein-du villages. As the village headman had to send the villagers on a rotation basis, every household had to work in the construction.
Although SPDC increased its troops from 200, 000 number to 350, 000, however, it could not take responsibility for protection of the roads, villages, infrastructure sites in rural areas. So, the local authorities and army give civilians this responsibility to safeguard the railway and motor road, gas-pipeline, bridges and other important places.
KNLA troops also launched military activities in
In late May, 2001, for the security of Kawkareik Township’s roads and bridges, the authorities ordered the villagers from Kanni, Thayet-taw, Kaw-khaik, Kaw-lyan, Ywa-galay and Kaw-kyaik villages to clear the bushes and glasses along the motor road that proceeded to Myawaddy, a border town which is opposite of Mae Sot town. The villagers had to do this work for about one week.
pipeline that provides energy to a cement factory in Myaing-kalay village, Pa-an Township of Karen State, also passed close to a village
called “Wae-kanaing”, Thanbyuzayat township,
On May 7, 2001, the column commander of LIB No. 106, Maj. San Nyo Win called a meeting will all villagers of “Wae-kanaing”, and ordered them to pay porter fee 500 Kyat per household, as he explained he needed to hire porters during military operations. Then, he added as the army could not take security the whole area, 4 villagers each night must take the security for their villages and in surrounding area including pipeline.
2. For Burmese Army (tatmadaw), which has no modernized logistical system for its troops during military patrol in a specific area and military offensives in frontier areas, it has totally remained and relied on “civilian porters”, who are arrested or requested from community leaders in remote area. To halt this practices of requisition of forced labour, Burmese Army needs to revise its logistical system or needs to stop its activities. Without this change, the requisition of civilian porters would continue as long as the fighting in frontier area is on going.
3. The regime and its authorities recently conducted insincere activities to stop the community people and leaders to not tell true situation on the requisition of forced labour to foreigners or international organizations especially ILO Team. So that it is a concern among the civilians that if they tell true about the recent requisition of forced labour, they could be punished. For ILO High-Level Team, it will face a difficult situation to have access for true information and need to have a proper technique in approach to get information and the following protection to those who talked to ILO Team.
4. The regime must mention about the security reason to stop ILO team members to not get entry to some areas where gross violations of requisition of forced labour including arrests of porters often occurred. These areas might close to armed conflict areas between Burmese Army and ethnic rebel forces. To overcome this condition, some negotiation with both sides of armies for temporary ceasefire or withdrawing of troops must be required.
5. Additionally, the regime would attempt to put their interpreters for translation or as security persons together with team members and would provide misinformation as much as it could. In fact, ILO must have some preparations to not have misinformation from SPDC support persons, including interpreters, regime’s worker associations, USDA members, some village/ town ward headmen, army commanders and other sources.
Government of the
The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, under the direction of the State Peace and Development Council, hereby directs that the following amendment shall be made to Order No. 1 / 99 dated 14th May, 1999 as requisition of forced labour is illegal and is an offense under the existing laws of the Union of Myanmar:
1. Clause 5 of the said Order 1 /99 shall be substituted with the following:
(a) Responsible persons including members of the local authorities, members of the Armed Forces, members of the Police Force and other public service personnel shall not requisition work or service notwithstanding anything contained in Sections 7 (1) and 9 (b) of the Towns Act, 1907 and Sections 8 (1) and 11 (d) of the Village Act, 1907
(b) The above Clause ( a ) shall not apply to requisition work or service when an emergency arises due to fire, flood, storm, earthquake, epidemic disease, war, famine and epizootic that poses an imminent danger to the general public and the community
2. When the responsible persons have to requisition work or service for purposes mentioned in Clause 1 (b) of this Supplementary Order the following shall be complied:-
(a) The work or service shall not lay too heavy a burden upon the present population of the region.
(b) The work or service shall not entail the removal of workers from their place of habitual residence.
(c) The work or service shall be important and of direct interest for the community. It shall not be for the benefit of private individuals, companies or associations.
(d) It shall be in circumstances where it is impossible to obtain labour by the offer of usual rates of wages. In such circumstances, the people of the area who are participating shall be paid rates of wages not less favourable than those prevailing in the area.
(e) School teachers and pupils shall be exempted from requisition of work or service.
(f) In the case of adult able-bodied men who are the main supporters of the necessities of food clothing and shelter for the family and indispensable for social life, requisition shall not be made except only in unavoidable circumstances.
(g) The work or service shall be carried out during the normal working hours. The hours worked in excess of the normal working hours shall be remunerated at prevailing overtime rates.
(h) In case of accident, sickness in disability arising at the place of work, benefits shall be granted in accordance with the Workmen’s Compensation Act.
(i) The work or service shall not be used for work underground in mines.
3. When the responsible persons have to requisition work or service for purposes mentioned in Clause 1 (b) of this Supplementary Order, they shall do so only with the permission of the Deputy Commissioner of the General Administration Department who is also a member of the relevant District Peace Development Council.
4. The State or Divisional Commissioner of the General Administration Department who is also a member of the relevant State or Divisional Peace and Development Council shall supervise the responsible persons to abide by the Order No. 1/99 and this Supplementary Order.
5. The phrase “Any person who fails to abide by this Order shall have action taken against him under the existing law” contained in Clause 6 of the said Order No 1/99 means that any person including local authorities, members of the Armed Forces, members of the Police Force and other public service personnel shall have action taken against him under Section 374 of the Penal Code or any other existing law.
Col. Tin Hlaing
Ministry of Home Affairs
Letter No. Pa-Hta-Ya / 2-3 (3140)/Oo 3