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"full of mirth and laughter and in
- Subject: "full of mirth and laughter and in
- From: darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2001 04:12:00
(Extracts from a memorandum concerning the situation of human rights
annexed to a Note verbale dated 9 March 2001 from the Permanent
Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the
the Commission on Human Rights. This was issued as Commission document
E/CN.4/2001/140 dated 21 March 2001)
"The practice of forced labour is non-existent in the country, and
effectively prohibited by culture, by practice and by law."
(from the Introduction)
"The populace, who are contributing labour, look fresh and happy with
full of mirth and laughter and in festive mood. They do not at all look
unhappy; nor do they show signs of being forced to work against their
This is one of the strong and clear proofs of the difference between
and the West." (from the section quoted below)
Positive developments regarding the recommendations of the ILC
"The Union of Myanmar with her recorded history of over three
is rich in culture and tradition. Among the traditional customs
Myanmar since time immemorial and which is still in practice is the
of labour. Myanmar nationals believe that the contribution of labour
meritorious and conducive to mental and physical well-being.
local populace contribute labour in village community works.
maintenance of religious edifices like pagodas, monasteries and temples,
constructions of roads, bridges, hospitals as well as digging and
lakes, ponds, wells and irrigation systems. The populace, who are
labour, look fresh and happy with full of mirth and laughter and in
mood. They do not at all look unhappy; nor do they show signs of
being forced to
work against their will. This is one of the strong and clear proofs
difference between the East and the West.
"As the areas which were once held by the armed groups are now
to the Government's national reconsolidation process, a large number
forces personnel are now assuming the full responsibility for the
of new motor roads and railroads in the country. In the past, when
problem was rampant in the country, the Armed Forces members have
to employ civilian labourers to transport equipment and supplies over
terrain in the remote areas during military operations. Wages and
needs were adequately provided to the labourers in accordance with
and relations of the country. Even such use of civilian labourers by
Forces is not in practice now as almost all the armed groups have
the legal fold. The Government does not practise or condone the
"But in recent years, there had been numerous allegations of the
forced labour in Myanmar and also that the relevant sections of the
Village Act and the Towns Act of 1907, a legacy from the British
were not compatible with the Forced Labour Convention 1930 (No.29).
"Under the instruction of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, the
of Home Affairs embarked on a review process in coordination with other
Ministries either to amend or to supplement or to repeal the
two Acts to bring them in line with the changing situations and
As a result of this review process, the Home Ministry issued Order
14 May 1999, which instructs the Village Tract and Ward Peace and
Councils and other local authorities concerned not to exercise the
those provisions of the two Acts relating to requisition for personal
As the Order 1/99 was issued under the Directive of the State Peace and
Development Council, which is the law-making body of the nation, it
full force of law. It is indeed law.
"Various means were utilized to give the widest possible publicity to
by explaining about it to the local and international media, in
circulating it to the State bodies and local authorities concerned.
the Order was published in the official National Gazette on 25 June
1999 - an
official record where all laws, notifications, rules, regulations,
and orders are officially published. This Order clearly stipulates
person who fails to abide by the order shall have actions taken
against him or
"Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed all local
concerned and all the police stations in the whole country to notify the
Ministry of any complaint lodged for the breach of the Order.
"In view of the above, it is quite clear that the positive and effective
measures have always been taken in accordance with the recommendation
Commission of Inquiry of the ILO Convention (29) of 1930. It is
note here that the Commission of Inquiry recommended only to bring
Act and the Towns Act of 1907 in line with the ILO Convention (29). The
recommendations do not specify the legal modalities of accomplishing
objective. As a matter of fact this objective has already been
the Myanmar authorities by the promulgation of Public Order 1/99 of
14 May 1999.
"As a long-standing member of the ILO, Myanmar has maintained the
closely cooperating with the organization. To keep in line with this
the Government of the Union of Myanmar has on 14 October 1999 invited a
technical team of ILO to visit the country in order that the two
discuss issues of mutual interest.
"Similarly, the Government also invited Dr. Payaman J. Simanjuntak of
to visit Myanmar in order that he may see first-hand the real
situation on the
spot and study the labour issues in the country."