Decision on the sixth item on the agenda: Developments concerning the question of the observance by the Government of Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)

Record of decisions | 18 November 2010

Oral report of the Chairperson

Governing Body conclusions

The Governing Body took note of the report of the Liaison Officer, the statement made by the Permanent Representative of the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the subsequent discussion. In light of the debate, it adopts the following conclusions:

1. The Governing Body welcomes the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and urges that other persons still in detention, including labour activists and persons associated with the making of, or supporting the submission of, complaints under the Supplementary Understanding, will similarly be given their liberty as soon as possible. In particular it reiterates its previous call for the release of U Zaw Htay, U Htay Aung , U Nyan Myint, Daw Su Su Nway, U Min Aung, U Myo Aung Thant, U Thurein Aung, U Wai Lin, U Nyi Nyi Zaw, U Kyaw Kyaw, U Kyaw Win and U Myo Min.

2. In light of the commitment made by the Permanent Representative of the Government, the Governing Body calls on the new Parliament to proceed without delay to bring legislation into line with the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), starting with the repeal of the relevant provisions of the Villages and Towns Acts as called for by the Commission of Inquiry.

3. Notwithstanding the reported progress in increased awareness of both Government personnel and the community at large of their rights and responsibilities under the law, much remains to be done to eliminate the use of forced labour. Further committed action is required to end all forms of forced labour, including under-age recruitment into the military and human trafficking. Bringing an end to the impunity which allows forced labour to continue requires the strict application of the Penal Code to all perpetrators.

4. The Governing Body calls for the continuation and intensification of awareness-raising activities undertaken jointly and severally by the Government and the ILO Liaison Officer encompassing Government personnel, the military and civil society. It again calls on the Government to continue to actively support the wide distribution of the agreed brochure and its translation into all local languages.

5. The Governing Body notes the increased number of forced labour complaints received but considers it essential that the movement towards an environment free from harassment or fear of retribution be sustained. In this context the Government is requested to grant the Liaison Officer access to court files and detainees for the purpose of verifying the absence of judicial retribution.

6. The Governing Body calls upon the Government to cooperate with the Liaison Officer on cases raised at the Officer’s own initiative.

7. The Governing Body notes that the Liaison Officer has engaged additional temporary resources to assist in meeting the demands of the increasing workload. However, that does not meet the need that the Governing Body has consistently identified for the strengthening of capacity to deal with complaints and associated activities. Therefore the Governing Body calls on the Government to ensure the conditions and facilities necessary for the effective and timely receipt and processing of complaints throughout the country.

8. The Governing Body recalls and reconfirms all of its previous conclusions and those of the International Labour Conference and calls upon the Government and the Office to work proactively towards their realization.

(Document GB.309/6.)