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Forced labour in Myanmar (Burma)

Report of the Commission of Inquiry appointed under article 26 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization to examine the observance by Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
Geneva, 2 July 1998

Part IV (cont.)

Examination of the case by the Commission

(5) Work on agriculture, logging,
and other production projects

(a) Information provided to the Commission

394. Nature and conditions of work. Information provided to the Commission indicated that villagers, and to a lesser extent urban residents, were forced to work on a variety of projects undertaken by the authorities, in particular the military. These projects included cultivation of rice, other food crops, cash crops such as rubber, shrimp farms, kilns for producing bricks, and logging activities. The produce might be used by the military, but in many cases it was simply sold. The income generated did not go to the villagers, but either went into the funds of the military unit exacting the labour, or individuals within that unit. Some money might be paid to commanders outside the unit itself. In most cases the military unit involved was the local army camp or battalion (including NaSaKa units in areas where these operate), but larger schemes might be implemented at the Light Infantry Division or Regional Command level.(580)

395. For cultivation, the forced labour of villagers was used for the entire process, from clearing the land to harvesting the crop. For logging, villagers had to fell the trees and saw them into timber. For brick-making, they had to provide the raw materials and fuel in addition to labour for the process. The villagers were not paid and had to provide their own tools and equipment. Often, the land on which cultivation projects were implemented was confiscated from villagers without compensation. In certain cases, land with an existing crop was confiscated without compensation, the owners of the land were forced to continue tending that crop, and when ready the crop had to be given to the military. In other cases, the process appeared to be one of direct extortion: a village was simply ordered to deliver a certain quantity of crop to the military at the end of the season, and it was up to that village to arrange land, obtain seed or seedlings, and tend and harvest the crop. The villagers were not remunerated in any way. In the extreme case, harvested crops were simply seized by the military; poultry, livestock and other items were similarly seized. Theft of such property was most common in areas recently occupied by the military, or areas with insurgent activity.(581)

396. Specific examples. Information received by the Commission in this regard covered most areas of Myanmar, including Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Shan and Rakhine States and Bago, Sagaing and Tanintharyi Divisions. This kind of work was more common in areas where the military had a more well-established presence. Information was received that several battalions in Tanintharyi Division(582) had used forced labour on projects they controlled for their own benefit or that of their officers.(583)

397. The largest volume of information received related to the cultivation of food and cash crops for the military. These crops included rice, vegetables such as beans and corn, sugar cane and rubber for a number of battalions in Kachin,(584) Kayah,(585) Kayin,(586) Mon,(587) Rakhine(588) and Shan(589) States and Bago,(590) Sagaing(591) and Tanintharyi(592) Divisions. In Rakhine State, Muslims were also forced by the military to do cultivation work for Burmese and Rakhine villagers.(593) The information covered a period from before 1994 to at least 1997.

398. Information was received regarding the use of forced labour for logging and bamboo cutting that appeared to be for commercial purposes. The information covered Kayin,(594) Mon,(595) and Shan(596) States and Sagaing(597) and Tanintharyi(598) Divisions over the period from 1992 to the present.

399. Information was received regarding the use of forced labour for animal husbandry, most commonly at shrimp farms. The information was from Rakhine State(599) and Sagaing Division.(600) The information covers a period from 1989 to at least 1995.

400. Information was received regarding the operation by military units of kilns for the production of bricks. There was information of forced labour for the collection of fuel for the kilns and work on the kilns themselves, in Kayin State,(601) Rakhine State(602) and Tanintharyi Division.(603) The information covers a period from at least 1994 to 1996.

(b) Oral testimony

401. Evidence from witnesses revealed that throughout the country the military conduct activities such as cultivation, fish and shrimp farming, forestry and manufacturing which are likely to enable them either to meet their material needs or produce profit. The evidence also shows that they mobilize the population, forcing the people to carry out these activities in difficult conditions.

402. Fifty-eight witnesses gave evidence to this effect,(604) thus enabling the Commission to identify some of the common practices of the military.

403. Some witnesses were forced to cut wood and bamboo, which the military subsequently sold.(605) Other witnesses were obliged to farm fish(606) or prawns(607) for the military, including all associated work, from the setting-up of the project to its continued maintenance.

404. Several witnesses were coerced into agricultural activities which are organized in various ways. In some cases the military seize the land from villagers, without compensation, and forces them to cultivate it for their benefit.(608) Witnesses claimed to have had to leave Myanmar because they no longer had enough land to make a living.(609) In other cases, the military oblige the workers to cultivate land located within the military camp,(610) or to clear the forest or jungle near the camp so as to make this land suitable for cultivation.(611) The military often specify the quantity of the crop to be produced. If this quantity is not produced, the villagers have to make up the difference under pain of sanction.(612)

405. Witnesses who supplied relevant evidence referred to crops of chillies,(613) corn,(614) rice,(615) rubber,(616) walnuts,(617) sugar cane(618) and pineapple.(619)

406. One person per family is usually requisitioned to perform the agricultural work,(620) the order specifying the tasks to be done being transmitted through the intermediary of the village head.(621) The witnesses stated that they had received no pay for the work performed and had to supply their own food, tools or oxen for ploughing.(622)

407. Finally, the evidence reveals that the military occasionally enter villages and seized, without any compensation, whatever animals or crops they find.(623)

(6) Construction and maintenance of roads,
railways and bridges

(a) Documentary material

408. Nature and conditions of work. The Commission received considerable detailed information concerning the use of forced labour on the construction of roads and railways. These ranged in size from small projects using the labour of a few local villages such as the clearing of a dirt road to a newly-established military camp(624) to those using tens or hundreds of thousands of labourers. For example, the government stated in comments to the ILO that "799,447 working people ... contributed voluntary labour"(625) for the construction of the Aungban to Loikaw railway connecting Shan and Kayah States; elsewhere it has stated that 921,753 people contributed to the building of the Pakokku to Monywa section of a railway in Magway and Sagaing Divisions connecting Chaung-U to Kalaymyo via Pakokku,(626) and that over 44,000 people were "contributing voluntary labour" on a single day on three sections of the Ye to Dawei (Tavoy) railway between Mon State and Tanintharyi Division in January 1994.(627)

409. Witnesses informed the Commission that those persons from whom they had obtained secondary statements consistently told them that the projects which they had been forced to work on did not benefit them. This was in part because local forms of transport (of which the most common was the bullock cart) were not permitted to use these roads; in general only motor vehicles could use them, and the vast majority of villagers did not own such vehicles.(628)

410. Once a project was completed, this did not necessarily mean an end to forced labour connected with it. Often on completion of a road or railway, particularly in conflict areas, people were forced to work as unarmed sentries guarding it at night, and to sweep roads for mines before troops pass, as discussed in paragraphs 374-388 above. People also had to provide labour for the maintenance of the project, and repair it in the event of damage. In the rainy season, roads and other infrastructure often washed out, and so more forced labour was required to repair them in the following months (around November to January). In particular, because roads were usually not sealed, were in any case poorly constructed and sometimes traversed paddy fields, they were damaged easily and most had to be rebuilt every year.(629)

411. In rural areas a given household might have to provide a worker for as much as two weeks in a month, and sometimes even more, especially if there was more than one project being carried out simultaneously. This was in addition to any other forced labour demands, such as portering or work at military camps. In some cases when a project was particularly urgent or important, all the able-bodied persons from a village were required to participate in the work. It should be noted that the forced labour requirement for these projects appeared to be significantly less in urban areas than in rural villages.

412. In addition to the forced labour of civilians, there were also a number of labour camps across the country where prisoners(630) were used for the purpose of constructing roads, railways, and other infrastructure, or working in quarries to provide materials for such construction. These prisoners frequently worked in heavy shackles. Members of the Tatmadaw were also required to work on such projects.(631)

413. The Commission was provided with detailed information on the working conditions of forced labourers. People might have to travel considerable distances to work sites, particularly for more extensive projects requiring large numbers of labourers. There was information that people from as far 100 km away were forced to work on the construction of the railway from Ye to Dawei (Tavoy).(632) In general it appeared to be common for workers to have to walk for several hours to reach a work site.(633) When a village, household or worker was required to complete a given amount of work (a given length of embankment, a given number of kyin(634) of excavation or crushed stones), they were not able to leave until that work was completed. Often, a time period was specified within which the work had to be completed. If the work was not completed to the satisfaction of the soldiers supervising the work (if the work was done slowly, or was of bad quality, for example), that village, household or worker would not be allowed to return home, and those involved might be beaten or otherwise punished.

414. Workers usually had to arrange their own transport to the work site, though in some cases owners of suitable transport would be ordered to provide free transport for workers at their own cost.(635) Workers usually had to bring their own food and necessary tools, though in certain circumstances tools were provided (when the population would not normally own the necessary tools, either because it was an urban population, or because the work required special tools). If they became sick, they were not treated, and usually had to pay a fine or arrange a replacement to enable them to return to their village to seek medical attention.(636) If they were injured they were in most cases neither treated nor given any compensation.(637) Deaths from sickness and work accidents appeared to be frequent on some projects.(638)

415. People forced to work on these projects were not paid, other than in exceptional circumstances.(639) The Commission received information that forced labourers were paid in some circumstances for work on the railway from Ye to Dawei (Tavoy), but this was the only project for which the Commission received such information, and even on this project payment was rare and often at rates far below prevailing market rates;(640) payment did not appear to have continued, as there were several reports of unpaid forced labour on the project in 1997.(641)

416. If a worker was required from each household, this was usually irrespective of the number of able-bodied persons in the household, so that if a household consisted of a widow and her child, she would have to go and either take her child with her or arrange for someone else to look after it.(642) If there was only one adult male in a household and he had to work for the family's income, another member of the household would have to go or the family would starve. This was especially true in the rainy season, which was the busiest period for farmers, but also the most dangerous at work sites because of the increased prevalence of disease and increased risk of injury or death from landslides and collapsing embankments.(643) Thus, not only was there a large proportion of women, children and older workers at work sites, but they were more likely to be at risk from disease and accidents.(644) Such people were also particularly vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the soldiers.(645)

417. Once they arrived at the work site, workers would usually have to make their own arrangements for accommodation. This meant arranging to stay at a nearby village, or building some kind of shelter at the work site. Often, workers simply had to sleep at the work site with no shelter.(646) There was usually no sanitation or other facilities of any kind provided at work sites. For some larger projects, however, which had work sites established for longer periods of time, some facilities such as sanitation and shelter might be present, though these had been constructed using the forced labour of other villagers.

418. The workers were usually supervised by the military, though on certain projects soldiers might not be actually present all the time. Since the military knew who had been assigned to which section, they were able to take action if a certain piece of work was not completed, and thus did not necessarily need to be present while the work was being carried out (though they often were). Workers were usually forced to work for long hours, typically between eight and 12 hours per day,(647) with only a one-hour break for lunch in the middle of the day. Workers were usually not permitted to take rest breaks at other times.(648) Workers were subject to verbal and physical abuse by the soldiers overseeing the project, particularly if they were not working to the satisfaction of the soldiers; some workers had died as a result of physical abuse.(649) Cases of soldiers raping female workers were not uncommon.(650) Punishments given to workers in cases where they were perceived to be working badly or refused to carry out forced labour included kickings, punchings, beatings with canes, sticks or pieces of bamboo, arrest and detention at a military camps, confinement in stocks, or in some cases severe torture or execution.(651)

419. Specific examples. The Commission received extensive and detailed information regarding the use of forced labour in connection with road construction, repair and improvement projects. The information covered all fourteen States and Divisions in Myanmar.

420. There was information regarding the use of forced labour on the construction or improvement of major road projects in many parts of the country. These included a road from Myitkyina to Putao (through Sumprabum) in Kachin State, in 1994 and 1995;(652) the Mandalay ring road in 1994 and 1995;(653) parts of the Yangon to Mandalay highway (through Toungoo) from 1994 to at least 1996;(654) a road from Haka in Chin State to Gangaw in Magway Division in 1996 and 1997(655) and from Gangaw to Kalaymyo in Sagaing Division in 1995;(656) the highway from Yangon to Sittway (Rakhine State) since 1988 and a four-lane road continuing from Sittway on to Taungpyo on the Bangladesh border in 1991 and 1992;(657) the Labutta to Yangon road (through Myaungmya, Pantanaw and Nyaungdone) linking Yangon and Ayeyarwady Divisions, over the past few years;(658) and on a road linking Ye in Mon State with Kawthaung in the far south of Tanintharyi Division, through Dawei (Tavoy) and Myeik (Mergui), since 1994.(659)

421. In addition to these major road projects, the information provided to the Commission indicated that in various parts of the country extensive networks of roads were constructed with forced labour, particularly in areas recently-occupied by the military after offensives against opposition groups. A considerable volume of information was provided regarding the construction of a major road network throughout Kayin State and bordering areas of Bago Division,(660) between 1993 and 1998, as well as on the upgrading of some existing roads in the area.(661) Forced labour was also used on a regular basis for crushing stone in Kyaukkyi township for road construction.(662) The road network in Chin State(663) was also improved and extended over the last few years using forced labour,(664) and in Shan State the network of roads in certain areas in the south of the State(665) has been improved with forced labour since at least 1992, but particularly since 1996.(666) In Tanintharyi Division, in addition to the road from Ye to Kawthaung mentioned in paragraph 420 above, there appeared to be two particular areas where road networks were being developed with forced labour: in the area of Tanintharyi town since 1994, and particularly since 1996,(667) and in the area around Kanbauk in Yebyu township in 1995.(668)

422. There was also information regarding road construction and improvement in Kayah State, particularly roads to relocation sites;(669) Mon State;(670) Sagaing Division;(671) Rakhine State;(672) and Ayeyarwady Division.(673)

423. In addition to road construction projects, the Commission received information regarding the use of forced labour on railway construction projects in various parts of Myanmar. A large volume of information covering a period from 1992 to 1997 and including copies of orders from the authorities requiring labour for the project indicated that thousands of people(674) were forced to work on the construction of a railway from Ye in Mon State to Dawei (Tavoy) in Tanintharyi Division.(675)

424. In Shan State, people were forced to work on a number of railway construction projects, including a railway from Shwenyaung to Namhsam since 1993, a section of railway from Namhsam to Mongnai since 1992, and a section of railway from Laikha to Mongkaing in 1996.(676)

425. Information was received concerning the use of forced labour for the construction of a railway from Aungban in Shan State to Loikaw in Kayah State, in 1992 and 1993.(677) People were taken from, among other places, Loikaw town and relocation camps, including a relocation camp near Demawso, to build the railway.

426. Information was also received concerning the use of forced labour on a railway linking Chaung-U and Pakokku to Kalaymyo, particularly the section from Pakokku to Myine in Magway Division and the section from Gangaw in Magway Division to Kalaymyo in Sagaing Division.(678) Many of those forced to work on the latter section were from Chin State. The information covered a period from 1993 to 1995.(679)

(b) Oral testimony

427. Roads and related infrastructure. Almost 100 witnesses, from different ethnic groups,(680) gave evidence that they had been forced to work or to have observed other persons forced by the authorities to work on roads or related infrastructure. These testimonies cover a significant part of the territory of Myanmar; they refer to roads forming part of a network between towns and villages, or roads linking army camps to this network or to one another,(681) and mainly recount events occurring over recent years, if not months.(682) One witness, who returned to Myanmar at the beginning of 1998 after an absence of six years, stated that the work demanded of the population in respect of road construction and maintenance had increased substantially.(683)

428. As regards work organization and working conditions, testimonies from persons who had been obliged to work corroborate those of village heads,(684) heads of village sections(685) and a deserter from the Tatmadaw who had been involved with organizing such labour.(686)

429. Throughout the territory of Myanmar, the authorities recruit the necessary labour for the roadworks according to a similar pattern. The military transmit a written order to the village head;(687) this order specifies the work to be accomplished and is sometimes accompanied by threats, which are expressed by means of a bullet or a piece of charcoal attached to the order; these symbols signify that reprisals may be taken by the authorities against the defaulting person or village.(688) With the exception of the situation prevailing in the northern part of Rakhine State, to which we shall return, the military do not generally intervene directly.(689)

430. A specific section of road to be built or repaired is assigned to each group, section or village. The village head is responsible for organizing the necessary labour force.(690) One person per family is generally called up, though the authorities may demand others as needed.(691) The witnesses stated that men, women and children between the ages of 12 and 72 performed compulsory labour on roadworks.(692) Even members of families that might be in a position to have a certain influence on the authorities are obliged to work on road construction or repairs.(693) Large numbers of children can be found working on these sites since, as soon as they are capable of working, their parents send them to perform the work demanded; they themselves can therefore continue to provide for the family needs, by cultivating their land or engaging in remunerated employment or work.(694)

431. Road construction work generally consists of levelling the ground, cutting trees, breaking stones, transporting earth for embankments and spreading tar.(695) As for repairs, the workers must maintain the roads and are even forced to rebuild them completely, in certain regions, after each rainy season. Several witnesses stated that the roads built or renovated were reserved for the exclusive use of the authorities.(696)

432. Working conditions are arduous,(697) and the working day is long, varying from 8 to 12 hours.(698) The work is sometimes accompanied by ill-treatment, including beating and kicking.(699) Acts of torture or extreme violence, including rape, also occur.(700) Some workers have died as a result of complications due to hunger, malaria, other infectious diseases and lack of timely medical care.(701)

433. Apart from rare and exceptional occasions, the persons recruited were neither paid nor fed.(702) When questioned on this subject, the witnesses all stated that they could not refuse to do the work, because they were afraid of the physical punishment or fines which could be imposed by the authorities.(703) Tools are generally not provided(704) and, if the workers have to live on the site, they must build their own makeshift shelters in which to sleep at night.(705)

434. In several cases, witnesses have stated that it is possible to be exempted from work in exchange for a sum of money which varies considerably from case to case.(706) One witness observed that the result of this practice was that the least well-off carried the greatest burden of the work, since they did not have sufficient means to be spared.(707)

435. Finally, the situation in the northern part of Rakhine State appears to be more severe in all respects than that prevailing in most other parts of the country. Most of the witnesses questioned on this subject, who were members of the Rohingya ethnic group, and who had left the country very recently, claimed to have been subjected to systematic discrimination by the authorities; the discrimination took the form, in so far as work on the roads is concerned, of an overwhelming workload.(708) In fact, the work is not really organized systematically;(709) the Rohingyas may be required to work by any authority, be it the army, the NaSaKa or the local police. The order may come via the village head or directly from any authority that needs workers for a given job. Working conditions are excessively arduous; tasks must be performed in an atmosphere where insults, abuse, ill-treatment and torture are commonplace.(710)

436. Railways. From the evidence of witnesses, the Commission concludes that the authorities of Myanmar have been using forced labour for the construction and maintenance of various railways across the country since at least 1990. Forty-one witnesses(711) supplied the Commission with relevant information on railways already constructed, or under construction, in Kachin,(712) Kayah,(713) Mon(714) and Shan States and in Bago,(715) Tanintharyi and Yangon Divisions.

437. The labour for the railway construction work is recruited in the same manner as for road construction, the military using the services of village heads.(716) One person per family is generally called up.(717) Each family, group or village is assigned a section of the railroad.(718) Men, women and children claimed to have worked on these railway construction sites or to have seen such persons forced to do so;(719) it is common to meet children sent by their families to perform the work required.(720)

438. Soldiers and prisoners can also be found working on these sites. The work done by them is no different from that demanded of civilians, except for the fact that the soldiers have only to work a fixed number of hours and are not necessarily obliged to complete the task assigned,(721) and that the most tedious work is reserved for the prisoners.(722)

439. Work on railway construction consists, initially, of preparing and levelling the ground.(723) Subsequently, the workers have to crush the necessary stone,(724) lay the chippings, cut wood to make sleepers(725) and then lay the sleepers and rails.(726) This is followed by maintenance work involving removal of weeds and scrub.(727) Work starts early in the morning and finishes late in the day, sometimes after dark; in some cases the workers are not even able to take a short break at midday.(728)

440. The workers are not fed,(729) have to sleep at the work site if it is too far from their homes(730) and usually have to provide the tools necessary for the performance of the task.(731) They are not paid,(732) though some claim to have been promised compensation, which they never actually received.(733)

441. Workers are subjected to ill-treatment when the supervising military authorities consider that the work is not progressing satisfactorily.(734)

442. It is possible to be exempted from the work by paying a certain amount of money to the authorities(735) or by finding a replacement.(736)

443. Finally, one witness mentioned that the military demanded a tax, over and above the work to be carried out, because of the fact that the railway would henceforth pass near his village.(737)

(7) Other infrastructure work

(a) Documentary material

444. Nature and conditions of work. In addition to the use of forced labour on the construction of roads, railways and associated infrastructure, the Commission also received information that people from most parts of Myanmar were forced to work on the construction and maintenance of other infrastructure projects. These projects included irrigation works, dams, canals, power-stations, a gas pipeline, airports, helipads, schools, hotels and a museum, as well as infrastructure related to events such as the student sport festival which takes place annually in a different State or Divisional capital.(738)

445. The general nature and organization of such work was the same as that described for road and rail infrastructure.(739)

446. Specific examples. The information provided to the Commission contained details of the use of forced labour on a large number of other infrastructure projects from most parts of the country.

447. Forced labour was used to construct dams and other work for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation. This work included dams in Bago Division(740) and Rakhine State,(741) dams and irrigation projects in Sagaing Division,(742) a major dam project in Shan State,(743) a dam in Tanintharyi Division(744)  and a canal in Yangon Division.(745) Most of these projects were major, involving hundreds or even thousands of labourers.

448. There was evidence before the Commission in the form of secondary statements that forced labour was used for the construction of helipads in Yebyu township in Taninharyi Division: helipad at Byu Gyi village, another helipad between Kadaik and Ohnbinkwin, and a third helipad between Migyaunglaung and Mayan Chaung, all in 1995.(746) There was also evidence in the form of a secondary statement relating to a helipad being constructed in the same region in 1996.(747) In a communication addressed to the Commission, TOTAL stated that most of the helipads situated on the pipeline route had been constructed by TOTAL or by companies working for TOTAL and applying its code of conduct, although TOTAL did not know under what conditions other helipads in the region had been constructed.(748)

449. There was information that forced labour, including that of non-Buddhists, was used on the construction and renovation of pagodas in Chin State,(749) Shan State,(750) Tanintharyi Division,(751) the construction of a monastery in Sagaing Division,(752) as well as for work at Bayintnaung Palace at Toungoo in Bago Division,(753) Mandalay Palace(754) and on the construction of a Buddha Museum at Sittway in Rakhine State.(755)

450. Information was provided regarding the use of forced labour for schools in Chin State, Kayin State and Sagaing Division, and clinics in Sagaing Division and Tanintharyi Division.(756)

451. Forced labour was used for other projects including the Student Sport Festival in Chin and Rakhine States,(757) hotels in Rakhine State,(758)  a toilet for a village in Kayin State,(759) and a 30-mile fence in Kachin State.(760)

452. There was evidence before the Commission in the form of secondary statements that forced labour was used until May 1995 for ground clearance work to provide access to survey teams for the Yadana gas pipeline project in Yebyu township, Tanintharyi Division.(761) In a communication addressed to the Commission TOTAL stated that it was wrong to claim that the preparatory clearing work could have been undertaken by forced labourers for the purpose of facilitating the access of the project teams. During the years 1993 and 1994, clearing work had been carried out under the supervision of TOTAL by the Compagnie générale de géophysique (CGG).(762) In view of the contradiction between the facts presented, and since the Commission was denied access to Myanmar to supplement its evidence, no finding on this matter could be made.

(b) Oral testimony

453. Twenty-two witnesses gave evidence covering the period between 1993 and 1998(763) concerning infrastructure works involving forced requisition of persons by public authorities carried out in Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan States and in the Ayeyarwady, Bago and Sagaing Divisions.(764)

454. The infrastructure works consist, inter alia, of construction of irrigation canals,(765) drainage channels,(766) airports,(767) a hydroelectric power station,(768) villages,(769) museums(770) or schools,(771) laying of electrical cables(772) or telephone lines,(773) and general infrastructure works in preparation for the Student Sport Festival, including levelling and preparation of a sports field.(774) The irrigation work generally involved hundreds of persons coming from dozens of villages that were often far from the work site. As for telephone lines, a witness gave evidence that he had to cut logs for the line between Panglong and Laikha.(775)

455. Work organization and working conditions are similar to those described for road and railway infrastructure.(776) The order specifying the work to be performed is usually transmitted by the village head or ward authorities(777) responsible for finding labour to carry out the required work. However, the military may intervene directly and round up the persons needed.(778)

456. Each village or group(779) is assigned a section of the project to be completed.(780) To this end, one person per family is usually requisitioned(781) and the work is divided up in accordance with a pre-established rota among the families of the village or group involved. Men, women and children - some of them barely ten years old(782) -- work on these sites.

457. The workers are neither paid(783) nor fed(784) and sometimes have to spend several nights on the site of their work assignment.(785) Several witnesses stated that they could avoid having to perform this work if a replacement was found.(786) Finally, the conditions under which the work has to be performed are arduous; the workers are frequently subjected to ill-treatment or other violations of fundamental human rights, including acts of torture.(787)

(8) General work

(a) Nature and condition of work

458. Information was also provided to the Commission that people throughout the country were forced to carry out regular tasks such as cleaning and beautifying public areas, particularly when important officials were due to visit. Because the nature of the work meant that it was mostly applicable to urban areas, it was mostly urban residents who had to carry it out. Government employees in particular were coerced into doing this work during the weekends.(788)

459. The ward authorities were usually responsible for organizing such work. Typically, one person from each household in the ward would have to participate for one day per weekend to carry out these tasks. Soldiers were sometimes used to supervise this work.(789)

460. Residents were also required to maintain their houses to certain specifications, or face eviction. Such specifications could include keeping the house painted, or replacing thatch roofs with a corrugated-iron roof.(790)

(b) Specific examples from documentary
material and oral testimony

461. The Commission obtained evidence on this topic from several parts of the country. In Myaungmya in Ayeyarwady Division, local authorities required one person from each household to work every Saturday cleaning roads and the school and hospital compounds.(791) Similarly, one person per family had to do various jobs in the city of Mandalay.(792) Forced labour was also regularly used for cleaning up the area around the lake at Hpa-an in Kayin State(793) as well as for half a day every Saturday at Loikaw in Kayah State, both around the town,(794) and at an army camp.(795) General cleaning and maintenance work also had to be done by one member of each household every Saturday in Kawthaung town in Tanintharyi Division.(796) Finally, forced labour was used for cleaning the town of Mrauk-U in Rakhine State in 1996 in preparation for a visit by a high-level government official.(797)

* * *

462. In reaching these findings of fact as set out in section C, the Commission was impressed with the truthfulness of the accounts given by the witnesses from whom it heard direct testimony. The questions asked by the Commission of these witnesses probed issues with a view to establishing veracity, which included issues about any political affiliation or membership of any opposition group. In many instances the witnesses were not educated people and the Commission was struck by the fact that overall they were careful to draw the distinction between matters which they had seen or experienced, and matters of which they had only heard from others. The Commission was also struck by their candour and absence of exaggeration. For these reasons, the Commission had no hesitation in relying on their testimony.

463. In reaching its findings of fact in sections B and C, where those findings relied on documentary evidence as discussed, the Commission had regard to the relative probity of documentary material as indicated. The Commission was assisted in this task by its confidence in the oral testimony of witnesses and by the extent to which the oral testimony corroborated so many aspects of the documentary material, both as to general patterns and specific detail.

464. Having regard to the vast amount of documentary material available, the Commission took account of what it considered as the most reliable information and although many of its findings could be supported by other documentation, it has footnoted the major sources and not all sources. Again, the Commission is confident in these findings.

465. The Commission wishes to acknowledge that this inquiry and its findings would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of people. While it is unusual for witnesses to be acknowledged in an inquiry, in this case the persons who gave oral testimony did so in conditions of considerable physical difficulty and with a great fear of reprisal from authorities to themselves or their families should their identities become known. In one instance, witnesses, including one who was ill, travelled for some 20 days in order to provide testimony to the inquiry.

466. The Commission is also indebted to a number of individuals and non-governmental organizations who assisted with identification of pools of witnesses and who made the sometimes very complicated arrangements for the Commission to meet them. It was the dedication of these people which enabled the Commission to have such a spread of witnesses, with recent information about conditions in Myanmar.

467. Finally, on this aspect, the Commission wishes to pay tribute to staff who not only braved the sometimes difficult physical circumstances assisting the Commission members in taking the evidence in locations, but also had the task of carefully cross-referencing and sifting through the vast documentary material to identify the information referred to in this chapter. The relatively simple way in which facts are described in this chapter belies the complexity of the task, although the footnotes give some glimmer of their invaluable work.

Part IV (cont.)

580. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0028, 032-2424, M42-7170.

581. Karen Human Rights Group, 032-2424, M42-7170.

582. LIBs 401 through 410 and battalions 25, 265, 280.

583. Mon Information Service, M56-7426.

584. The information mentioned the confiscation of land in Waimaw township in 1994 by IB 29, who then forced villagers to cultivate sugar cane and rice for the battalion on this land. More recent information indicates that LIB 321 forced villagers from a number of villages near Myitkyina to work for the whole season on their paddy fields, that villagers were also forced to work for LIB 384 on paddy fields which had been confiscated from them in Momauk township, and do similar work for LIBs 385 and 386 in Mohnyin township. See HRDU, 001-0167; Mirante, I/51-52.

585. In 1994, Battalions 336, 421 and 422 each reportedly confiscated 1,000 acres of land from villages in the northern part of the State and then forced villagers to carry out cultivation work on this land. In 1996, villagers who had been relocated to Shadaw were reportedly forced to clear land for the army to grow beans. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0436, 154-5083.

586. Forced labour was reportedly used on the following projects: cultivation of land in Kawkareik township, which had been confiscated from villagers, for battalions 330, 355 and 356; carrying out rice cultivation for the army and DKBA on land confiscated from villagers in Nabu in Kawkareik township; cultivation of rubber plantations for LIBs 547 and 549 in Kawkareik township in 1997. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0444, 001-0586, 001-0592 to 0593; Amnesty International, 099-3896; Min Lwin, H06-5767 to 5776, H06-5783 to 5784, H06-5791 to 5794.

587. It appears that in 1995 villagers from Ye North township were forced to cultivate vegetables for LIB 106 on land which had been confiscated by the Battalion. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0175.

588. Villagers were reportedly forced to work clearing land for the NaSaKa in Maungdaw township and cultivating rice for several battalions in Sittway (Akyab) township in 1994 and 1995. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0445; Human Rights Watch/Refugees International, 154-5404.

589. It appears that LIB 510 forced villagers at Kho Lam relocation site near Namhsam to clear the forest and grow beans for them; people in Hsipaw township were forced to grow corn for the military. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0698; Shan Human Rights Foundation, 147-4621.

590. In 1995, IB 60 and LIB 351 reportedly confiscated a large area of land in Kyaukkyi township and then forced about 500 local villagers every day to cultivate dry-season rice for the army on this land. Once the initial cultivation had been finished, the villagers then had to guard the fields from wandering animals. See Burma Issues, 001-0539 to 0541.

591. Battalions 87, 89, IB 228, Battalions 362, 363, 365, Military Intelligence 17 and Training Battalion 10 had all used forced labour for their cultivation projects in Kalaymyo township. See Images Asia, 164-8337 to 8338.

592. The following projects were mentioned: exaction of labour for many years by battalions in Dawei (Tavoy) and Thayetchaung townships, including LIBs 403, 404 and 405, on their plantations (in particular, these three battalions forced villagers in 1997 to construct dykes to form cultivable land which they then took for themselves; LIB 404 used forced labour in 1997 to clear land for further rubber cultivation); by LIBs 406 and 408 for cultivation of land in Yebyu township; and by military units in Launglon township for rice cultivation in 1997. There was also information that in 1997, over 1000 acres of rice fields were confiscated on Pyingyi Island in Launglon township for the establishment of an experimental rice cultivation project being implemented by IB 104 and government authorities; more than 500 local people were then forced to work on this project. See Mon Information Service, 139-4447 to 4450, M56-7425 to 7429, M57-7432.

593. Human Rights Watch/Asia, 154-4926.

594. The information mentioned cutting trees and working in a sawmill for LIB 545 in Kyondo in Hpa-an district in 1995 and sawing logs into timber for Battalion 330 in Kawkaraik township in 1995. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0586, 001-0592 to 0593, 001-0602.

595. Villagers from Thaton township were reportedly forced by the military in 1995 to cut large amounts of bamboo, and then sell this bamboo in Bilin town, with all the money being kept by the soldiers. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0175.

596. Villagers in Mongping township were reportedly forced to clear teak trees as part of the work for constructing a camp for LIB 360 in 1992 (see para. 356 above); these trees were sold in Kengtung town, with the proceeds reportedly shared by the commanders of LIB 360 and LIB 43. See Shan Human Rights Foundation, 001-0334.

597. In March 1997 IB 228 reportedly forced villagers to transport teak which the soldiers then sold for profit. In 1995 officers from IB 50 also reportedly forced villagers with bullock carts to smuggle teak logs from India; the group was arrested by Indian forces, who detained the villagers, but released the soldiers. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0578, HRDU, 001-0163 to 0164; Images Asia, 167-8338; Lin, VII/13-15.

598. There is information that LIBs 404 and 406 forced people to carry out hardwood logging in Yebyu township in 1994 and 1995, with the wood that was not used for construction being sold by the Battalion; similar work had to be carried out for LIBs 403, 404, 405 and 406 in Thayetchaung township, until at least 1997. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1054 to 1055; Mon Information Service, 139-4449.

599. There is information that people had to look after livestock for several battalions in Sittway (Akyab) township in 1994 and 1995, work on a shrimp farm in Ponnagyun township since 1989. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0558 to 0559; Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0711; Amnesty International, 064-2962.

600. There is information that people were forced to work on the digging of 80 fishponds for IB 10 in Kalaymyo township in 1995. See HRDU, 001-0164; Images Asia, 167-8338.

601. There is information that villagers had to cut firewood to fuel army-owned brick kilns in Kawkareik township; villagers with bullock carts had to transport wood and bricks to and from army-owned brick kilns in Kawkareik township; and villagers had to collect firewood for LIB 545's brick kilns in Kyondo, with soldiers then selling some of this wood to villagers. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0629, 001-0632; Amnesty International, 099-3896.

602. There is information that villagers had to make bricks for the NaSaKa in Maungdaw township, which the NaSaKa then sell. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0565; Amnesty International, 064-2962.

603. There is information that villagers were forced to work on charcoal- and brick-making projects throughout the Division; for military brick kilns in Yebyu township; and by Battalion 280 for its brick kilns in Palaw township in 1997. Karen Human Rights Group, H24-6423, H24-6478; Mon Information Service, 043-2653.

604. The witnesses heard on this subject came from the following groups: Burman (1); Karenni (5); Karen (14); Mon (1); Muslim other than Rohingya (1); Pa-O (1); Rakhine (1); Rohingya (27); Shan (5); and Tai (1).

605. See statements of Witnesses 159, 163, 186 and 192.

606. See statement of Witness 97.

607. See statements of Witnesses 8, 19 and 73.

608. See statements of Witnesses 99 and 154. In the case of the Rohingyas, the confiscated land is sometimes redistributed to Rakhine people: see statements of Witnesses 18, 71 and 77.

609. See, in particular, statements of Witnesses 33, 40, 44 and 46.

610. See statements of Witnesses 95, 97 and 111.

611. See statements of Witnesses 177 and 186.

612. See statements of Witnesses 99 and 134.

613. See statements of Witnesses 8 and 156.

614. See statement of Witness 137.

615. See statements of Witnesses 21, 24, 99 and 146-148.

616. See statements of Witnesses 123, 151, 186 and 188.

617. See statement of Witness 190.

618. See statements of Witnesses 123 and 151.

619. See statement of Witness 127.

620. See statements of Witnesses 159 and 186.

621. See statements of Witnesses 163, 176, 184 and 186.

622. See statements of Witnesses 18, 145-148, 176 and 186.

623. See statements of Witnesses 93, 103, 124, 155, 176 and 204.

624. For example, Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0189.

625. See para. 156 above; the project is also described in Myanmar's state press, see Working People's Daily, H14-6099.

626. Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051.

627. New Light of Myanmar, H14-6112.

628. See Heppner, XII/55-56; Liddell, V/18; Min Lwin, VI/1; Wa Wa, II/52-53. For a text of an order prohibiting the use of bullock carts on motor roads, see order 11 in Appendix XI.

629. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0027, 001-0030, 032-2425; Liddell, V/18; Heppner, XII/13, 54. Forced labourers often produced poor-quality work, putting down branches covered with a thin layer of mud to level ground and build up embankments. One reason mentioned for this was that those forced to do the work would try to finish their assignments as quickly as possible, taking shortcuts at times when this would not be noticed.

630. Some of these prisoners were reported to be political prisoners. See Amnesty International, 064-2961, 085-3491, 098-3874; Karen Human Rights Group, 032-2429; Liddell, V/22-27; Lin, VII/10-11.

631. While soldiers had been more prominently used recently for tasks which were previously carried out with civilian forced labour, this was in the most part restricted to areas visible to foreigners; there was also information that in certain other cases where soldiers were seen working, the majority of the work was nevertheless carried out using civilian forced labour. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0632; Liddell, V/32-34; Lin, VII/49-50, 64; and para. 438 below. See also doc. 176.

632. Liddell, V/18; Heppner, XIII/10.

633. Heppner, XII/58.

634. kyin is a measure of volume equal to 100 cubic feet.

635. Heppner, XII/58.

636. Wa Wa, II/49; Lin, VII/42; Heppner, XII/64.

637. Wa Wa, II/46.

638. Wa Wa, II/45.

639. Payment of small amounts of money was made recently to labourers forced to work on infrastructure projects, primarily in areas visible to foreign visitors. See also Lin, VII/12-13; Heppner, XII/44-45. See also, UNHCR, 033-2435.

640. The official Government contract day labour wage was 10 kyat per day until 1988, 15 kyat per day from 1988 to 1993, and 20 kyat per day since 1993. In contrast, the market wage for dry-season day labour in rural areas appears to have been 60-80 kyat per day since the 94/95 fiscal year. See American Embassy in Rangoon, H13-6009, H13-6082. For a short period in 1996, villagers from Yebyu township were paid local market rates for labour on the project, and as a result some villagers reportedly went voluntarily.

641. Mon Information Service, 001-1229, 042-2620, 139-4435, 139-4439 to 4440; Human Rights Documentation Unit, M34-6965.

642. Heppner, XII/12.

643. Heppner, XII/54-55.

644. The only exception appeared to be among the Muslim population of Rakhine State, where because of cultural mores women rarely did forced labour; in this population the burden of forced labour thus fell entirely on the male members of the household.

645. Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051.

646. Min Lwin, III/32-33.

647. Human Rights Watch Asia, 065-2968, gives the normal working day for labourers on a section of the Ye to Dawei (Tavoy) railway as 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

648. Heppner, XII/64.

649. Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051.

650. Lin, VII/38.

651.  Heppner, XII/31-35, 40-41.

652.  See Amnesty International, 090-3655. In 1994 and 1995 forced labour was used on construction of the section from Sumprabum to Putao, with 3,000 people reportedly taken from Putao to work on a remote area of the road construction in late 1994, scores of whom apparently died because of a lack of food at the work site. See Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051.

653.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0574 to 0575, 032-2424, 032-2426.

654.  Images Asia, 001-0208 to 0209; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0528 to 0529, 032-2424.

655.  Images Asia, 167-8301, 167-8306; Karen Human Rights Group, 028-2338, 154-5136 to 5138.

656.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0577.

657.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0557, 001-0566; Asia Watch, 107-3942.

658.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0534, 001-0652, 001-0693, 001-0695.

659.  Amnesty International, 001-0500; Mon Information Service, 008-2053 to 2058, 008-2062, 139-4436, 139-4440 to 4441; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1367, 001-1371, 154-5040 to 5044, 154-5106, 154-5112 to 5114, H24-6424, H24-6469 to 6472.

660.  The network included the following roads. In Kayin State: Papun to Bilin (in Mon State), Papun to Kyauknyat (through Par Haik), Papun to Kamamaung, Saw Hta (in Papun district) to Kyaukkyi (in Bago Division), Hpa-an to Painkyone, Hpa-an to Zathabyin (through Shwe Taw), Hpa-an to Dawlan, Painkyone to Nabu (through Bee T'Ka), Way Sha (Kweshan) to Than Ma Ya Taung in Myawady township, Dawlan to Pata, Nabu to Eindu (through Dawlan), Nabu to Kyondo, Nabu to Kawkareik (through Myatpadine; a wooden bridge was constructed in 1995 as part of this project), Kya In Seik Gyi to Taungbauk, Kya In Seik Gyi to Chaung Wa (including construction of a wooden bridge at Chaung Wa in 1996), Kya In Seik Gyi to Kyeikdon, Kya In Seik Gyi to Kyondo, a bridge in Kya In Seik Gyi township in 1994, Thanbyuzayat (in Mon State) to Three Pagodas Pass, as well as many other small local roads throughout Kayin State. In Bago Division: Toungoo to Busakee (through Kaw Thay Der), Zayatkyi to Tantabin, Shwegyin to Kyaukkyi.

661.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0185 to 0186, 001-0189, 001-0192 to 0197, 001-0376, 001-0451, 001-0480, 001-0488, 001-0551, 001-0607 to 0609, 001-0619 to 0620, 001-0629, 001-0632 to 0637, 001-0904, 001-1342 to 1343, 001-1853 to 1854, 001-1988, 001-1994, 027-2286 to 2288, 027-2292 to 2293, 031-2393 to 2396, 031-2399, 031-2401, 154-4938, 154-4941, 154-5196, H21-6354, H25-6499, M49-7315 to 7316, M49-7350 to 7351, M50-7361, M49-7310, M49-7315 to 7316; Images Asia, 01-0208 to 0209, 001-0216; Human Rights Watch/Asia, 065-2965; Amnesty International, 091-3694, 093-3748, 099-3896.

662.  Amnesty International, 099-3896.

663.  Construction and improvement of the following roads was specifically mentioned: Haka to Thantlang, Haka to Falam, Haka to Gangaw, Haka to Matupi, Matupi to Mindat and Paletwa to Kuah Daw. It appeared that forced labourers on the Haka to Matupi and Matupi to Mindat roads were paid 25 kyat of a promised 100 kyat per kyin of rock crushed for the road (see Karen Human Rights Group, 154-5140 to 5142).

664.  028-2338 to 2340, 064-2962, 154-5136 to 5144, 167-8301, 167-8306 to 8307, M12-6812. The information included a number of orders from 1996 requiring civilians to provide labour for two of these road projects, the widening of the Haka to Thantlang road and work on the Haka to Gangaw road.

665.  In particular, the following roads were mentioned: from Salong (in Langkho township) to Mawkmai since 1992; breaking rocks for the construction of several roads in Langkho and Mawkmai townships in 1996 and 1997, including Langkho to Wan Hat and Wan Hat to Mawkmai; breaking rocks for a road from Mongping to Mong Hsat in 1996 and 1997; repairing the road from Mongkaing to Hsipaw, as well as other roads around Hsipaw, in 1996; a road from Laikha town to Panglong (in Loilem township) in 1996 and 1997; and a road from Laikha to Mongkaing in 1997. Villagers who had been relocated along the Laikha to Mong Nawng road were also forced to work on the construction of that road.

666.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0672, 001-0698; Amnesty International, 099-3895; Shan Human Rights Foundation, 144-4536 to 4537, 145-4553 to 4554, 145-4585, 147-4632, M34-6964; HRDU, M34-6961.

667.  These roads included Tanintharyi town to the Thai border at Mawtaung; Boke to Kyay Nan Daing (north of Myeik (Mergui)); from Tanintharyi town north to Ta Po Hta, as well as other roads in Tanintharyi and Thayetchaung townships. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1242, 154-5040 to 5044, 154-5106, 154-5112 to 5114, H24-6424, H24-6424, H24-6445, H24-6447, H24-6450 to 6465, H24-6469 to 6472, H24-6475 to 6483, H24-6485, H24-6487 to 6489; Mon Information Service, 139-4437 to 4439.

668.  The roads identified included Kaleinaung to Kanbauk and Ohnbinkwin, Pyingyi to Migyaungaing and Migyaunglaung to Eindayaza. Forced labour was also reportedly used for the construction of a bridge between Kadaik and Ohnbinkwin in 1995. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1120, 001-1124, 001-1359, 001-1367 to 1373. In relation to these roads, TOTAL informed the Commission that there was no specific pipeline road network in the area, but that in 1995-96, for the needs of the project, improvements had been made to the existing road network in this coastal area and had been carried out by a French company working under the supervision of TOTAL and respecting its code of conduct. This work had involved the use of modern civil works machinery and not in any event to recourse to forced labourers. See TOTAL, 165-8278 (summarized in para. 75 above).

669.  There was information that forced labour was used in 1996 on roads near the Shadaw relocation site, on a road from Demawso to the Daw Tama Gyi relocation site (through Tee Po Klo) in Demawso township, on a road to the Mar Kraw She relocation site in Pruso township, and on a road to Daw Ku Li in Loikaw township in 1997. See Amnesty International, 099-3896; Karen Human Rights Group, 154-5083, 154-5091 to 5093.

670.  There is information that people were forced to work on the widening of a section of the road from Ye to Dawei (Tavoy) near Ye in 1996; forced labour was also used on the repair of the Kyaikto to Bilin road, and on local roads in Ye and Mudon townships. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1341; Mon Information Service, 139-4438 to 4439.

671.  There is information that people were forced to work on the construction and improvement of a number of roads, including the following: Layshi to Somra in 1997; Layshi to Tamanthi, over many years; Layshi to Lahe; Homalin to Tamanthi in 1997; Kalaymyo to Tamu in 1995; a 14-mile road from Monywa to Ah Myint in 1995; and road projects in Tamu township in 1995. See HRDU, 001-0163 to 0164; Images Asia, 167-8338 to 8339.

672.  People were reportedly forced to work on the following road projects: Maungdaw to Kyein Chaung in 1995; providing stones for widening the road to the NaSaKa headquarters, in Maungdaw township; and other road improvement projects in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships in 1996. See Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0057 to 0058, 001-0565 to 0566; UNHCR, 033-2435, 113-3983; Amnesty International, 089-3610; Asia Watch, 107-3940 to 3942.

673.  The information indicated that in recent years people had been forced to work on a road from Shwelaung to Wakema and that in 1995/1996 people were also forced to construct a road from Talakwa, near Pathein (Bassein), to Nga Saw beach (30 km north of Chaungtha). See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0652, 001-0695. As mentioned in para. 364, labourers were forced to clear land and build barracks for the troops supervising the work on this latter road.

674.  The workers were mainly from Ye township in Mon State and Dawei (Tavoy), Launglon, Thayetchaung and Yebyu townships in Tanintharyi Division.

675.  Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0052, 065-2967 to 2968, 150-4690; Amnesty International, 001-0500 to 0501; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0527 to 0531, 001-1032, 001-1051 to 1052, 001-1060 to 1074, 001-1241, 001-1243, 001-1341, 001-1367, 001-1373 to 1374, 001-1843, 001-1940 to 1945, 015-2116, 018-2166, 018-2170 to 2172, 029-2370; Mon Information Service, 001-1223, 001-1228 to 1234, 008-2061, 042-2615 to 2644, 043-2653, 139-4435, 139-4439 to 4440; Images Asia, 001-1822 to 1823, 001-1826, 001-1829, 001-1835 to 1836; John Doe A, H20-6293, H20-6295; John Doe B, H20-6297; Jane Doe A, H20-6300 to 6301.

676.  Shan Human Rights Foundation/S.H.A.N., 001-0167 to 0170; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0669; Amnesty International, 099-3897.

677.  Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0305, 001-0320, 032-2425, 032-2429; Amnesty International, 091-3700.

678.  Human Rights Watch/Asia, 001-0051; Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0553, 001-0561 to 0564, 001-0575 to 0576; Images Asia, 167-8327 to 8332.

679.  There were indications that this railway was being extended from Kalaymyo to Tamu on the border with India. See Images Asia, 167-8327.

680.  The distribution of witnesses by ethnic group to which they belonged is as follows: Burman (3); Karen (32); Chin (4); Rakhine (8); Shan (17); Karenni (5); Mon (10); Tai (1); Rohingyas (7); Moslems other than Rohingyas (8).

681.  The States and Divisions covered by the testimonies are as follows: Ayeyarwady, Bago, Chin, Kayah, Kayin, Magway, Mon, Rakhine, Sagaing, Shan and Yangon. The roads mentioned by witnesses are, in the Ayeyarwady Division, the major Ma-u-bin to Twantay and Einme to Pantanaw roads; in Bago Division, a road in Kyaukkyi township; in Chin State, the roads connecting Matupi to Paletwa and the Kaladan river, and roads between Haka and Thantlang and Haka and Gangaw; in Kayah State, the road network connecting Loikaw, Bawlake, Ywathit and Mawchi; in Kayin State, the major road network connecting Papun, Bilin, Hpa-an, Shwegun, Hlaingbwe, Painkyone, Dawlan, Yebu, Nabu, Kawkareik, Myawady, Kyondo, Kyeikdon and Three Pagodas Pass; in Mon State, the roads connecting Mawlamyine (Moulmein) to Yangon, and Thanbyuzayat to Anin and Setse; in Rakhine State, the road network in the north of the State connecting Ann, Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, Minbya, Rathedaung and Sittway (Akyab); in Sagaing Division, the important road between Kalaymyo and Thantlang; in Shan State, the road network connecting Taunggyi, Aungban, Hopong, Yatsauk and Shwenyaung, and the road network connecting Laikha, Loilem, Mong Hsu, Mung Kung, Panglong, Lashio, Namtu and Mong Yai.

682.  Certain testimonies recount facts dating back to the early 1980s.

683.  See statement of Witness 154.

684.  See, in particular, the statements of Witnesses 162 and 180.

685.  See, in particular, the statement of Witness 173.

686.  See statement of Witness 170.

687.  See statements of Witnesses 220-228.

688.  See statement of Witness 180.

689.  See statement of Witness 133. Isolated cases do, however, refer to direct action on the part of the military; on this subject, see statement of Witness 170, a deserter from the Tatmadaw, who related that, while he was in Lashio (Shan State), in 1996, he had on three occasions been ordered to recruit people at random to send them to the Chinese border where they would work as porters or on road construction. He had thus forcibly recruited 170, 80 and 90 persons for this purpose on those three respective occasions.

690.  See statements of Witnesses 11, 12, 110, 119, 126, 174 and 214.

691.  See statements of Witnesses 119, 155, 159, 162, 175, 176, 180, 204 and 214.

692.  See statements of Witnesses 122, 131, 132, 138, 139, 159, 214 and 217.

693.  See statement of Witness 4. This witness, who comes from a family of magistrates, explained that he, together with other families of judges in his village, had to build, between 1 and 15 January 1995, a section of the road between Haka and Thantlang (Chin State).

694.  See statements of Witnesses 181, 186 and 244.

695.  See statements of Witnesses 165, 186 and 130.

696.  See statements of Witnesses 8, 37, 142 and 175.

697.  See statements of Witnesses 4, 12, 214 and 217.

698.  See statements of Witnesses 122 (6 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 130 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.); 139 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 142 (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 153 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 156 (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 159 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.); 184 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.); 204 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.); 231 (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.); 247 (6 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

699.  See statements of Witnesses 7, 142, 143, 144 and 186. Witness 143 specified that the workers were sometimes put in stocks as a punishment.

700.  See statement of Witness 157. This witness claimed to have seen, while working on the road between Bilin and Papun in 1993, two women, two young girls and five men shot dead by the military because they wanted to take a short break. He claimed that the women had first been raped.

701. See, in particular, the statement of Witness 217.

702. See statements of Witnesses 98, 106, 119, 122, 127, 131, 132, 137, 138, 139, 141, 142, 144, 162, 175, 176, 180, 183 and 186.

703. See, in particular, statements of Witnesses 110 and 183.

704. See statement of Witness 98.

705. See statements of Witnesses 12, 137, 142 and 186.

706. See, in particular the statements of Witnesses 122 (50 kyat), 131 (200 kyat per day), 132 (2,500 kyat for 10 days), 138, 139 (200 kyat for five days), 142 (100 kyat), 173 (500 kyat), 176, 180 (200 kyat per day), 214 (3,000 kyat for 15 days) and 220-228 (2,500 kyat per project).

707. See statement of Witness 150.

708. See statements of Witnesses 54, 68 and 76.

709. See statement of Witness 76.

710. See statements of Witnesses 8, 30, 34, 38 and 45. Workers may be chained, put in stocks or exposed to the blazing sun for hours on end: see statement of Witness 8.

711. The distribution of witnesses in respect of the work carried out on the railways is as follows: Burman (7); Chin (1); Karen (1); Karenni (9); Mon (14); Shan (8); and, Tavoyan (1).

712. This is the railway between Myitkyina (Kachin State) and Mandalay (Mandalay Division). The Witnesses' statement refers to the work that they claim was done by unpaid soldiers. See statement of Witness 5.

713. The railway between Aungban (Shan State) and Loikaw (Kayah State). See statement of Witnesses 84, 40, 90, 91, 93, 99, 106, 110, 113, 114.

714. The railway between Ye and Dawei (Tavoy) connecting Mon State and Tanintharyi Division. See statements of Witnesses 198-203, 211, 212, 220-225, 227, 228, 232, 233, 234-236.

715. The railway linking Bago town with Yangon. See statements of Witnesses 109, 119, 122, 129, 131, 134, 135 and 210.

716. See statements of Witnesses 91, 99, 106, 109, 122, 199, 200, 202 and 210.

717. See statements of Witnesses 91, 200 and 210. Only Witness 199 indicated that all members of his family of working age were obliged to go to the site. One person only remained behind to attend to household chores. Finally, Witness 190 declared that even government employees had to take part in the construction of these tracks, though they received more favourable treatment since they had to go only once a week and did not have to finish the task assigned.

718. See statements of Witnesses 112, 135 and 202. Witness 113 stated that all the villages in Kayah State took part in the construction of the State railways.

719. See statements of Witnesses 89, 91, 109, 122, 131, 201, 210, 211, 212 and 220. Witness 198 stated that she had to go to her work assignments carrying her infant with her.

720. See statement of Witness 90.

721. See statement of Witness 93.

722. See statement of Witness 99 who even saw prisoners die on the work site because of the wretched working conditions.

723. See statements of Witnesses 90, 91, 112 and 131.

724. See statements of Witnesses 122, 198 and 200.

725. See statements of Witnesses 106 and 114.

726. See statements of Witnesses 112, 119, 134, 199, 201 and 210.

727. See statement of Witness 232.

728. See statements of Witnesses 90, 91, 198, 201 and 210.

729. See statements of Witnesses, 89-91, 99, 109, 119, 129, 131, 198, 201, 210, 212 and 220.

730. See statements of Witnesses 91, 99, 210 and 211.

731. See statements of Witnesses 89, 90 and 99.

732. See statements of Witnesses 90, 91, 112, 119, 211 and 212. Witness 229, who was responsible for recruiting manpower for the railway track between Ye and Dawei (Tavoy), stated that the workers were paid 180 kyat per day.

733. See statements of Witnesses 106, 199, 202, 234 and 235. In 1996, Witness 203 claimed to have recruited labour for the Ye-Dawei (Tavoy) railway after having negotiated with the military for an amount of 1,200 kyat per kyin of embankment. When the work was completed, the military refused to pay and finally paid 700 kyat per kyin.

734. See statements of Witnesses 99, 112, 119, 122, 134, 198 and 212. It has been claimed that women are subjected to sexual exactions: see, in particular, statements of Witnesses 199 and 200.

735. See statements of Witnesses 109 (150 kyat), 112 (1,200 kyat), 131 (2,000 kyat for 20 days), 198 (1,000 kyat), 220 (2,500 kyat for two weeks) and 232 (150-200 kyat).

736. See statements of Witness 131 (2,500 kyat). Only Witness 119 declared that the authorities refused the replacement.

737. See statement of Witness 212 (3,000 kyat).

738. Recent locations include Sittway (Akyab), Rakhine State, in 1993; Dawei (Tavoy), Tanintharyi Division, in 1996; Haka, Chin State, in 1998.

739. See paras. 408-418 above.

740. The information indicated that people from several villages were forced in 1995 and 1996 to work on the construction of a large dam for hydroelectric power generation on the Pa Thi stream in Toungoo township, and that in 1995 people were forced to construct another dam, this time on the Kyauk Ke Kyi stream in Kyaukkyi township, to produce hydroelectric power for the army's Tactical Operational Command headquarters in Kyaukkyi. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0705 to 0708; Burma Issues, 001-0537.

741. Amnesty International, 089-3617.

742. There is information that a large number of people have been forced since 1994 to work on the construction of the Thazi dam in Monywa township. People from the Division were also forced to work on the construction of the Tant Sae dam in Salingyi township in 1995 and 1996, construction of the Phalan Kyin dam in Monywa township, irrigation projects on the Mu river near Shwebo in 1995 and on the Zee Chaung hydro project in Kalaymyo township from 1990 to 1996. See Karen Human Rights Group/HRDU, 001-0164 to 0165; Karen Human Rights Group, 154-5148; Images Asia, 167-8332 to 8337.

743. The Nam Wok (Mong Kwan) dam project near Kengtung, completed in 1994. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0028; Heppner, XII/56-57.

744. 5,000 people were reportedly forced to work on the construction of a dam in Thayetchaung township in 1995; forced labour was also used for its repair in 1996. See Mon Information Service, 001-1280.

745. There is information that in 1994 thousands of people were forced to dig a canal from Taikkyi township to Hmawbyi township. See Shan Human Rights Foundation, 001-0364.

746. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1118, 001-1367 to 1372.

747. John Doe IV, 067-3046 (the location of the helipad was given, but not included in the affidavit for the protection of the witnesses).

748. TOTAL, 165-8278 (communication summarized in para. 75 above): "la plupart des hélipads situés sur le parcours même du gazoduc ont été construits par TOTAL ou par des sociétés travaillant pour TOTAL et appliquant son code de conduite [TOTAL ignorant] dans quelles conditions [auraient] été réalisés d'autres hélipads dans la région".

749. Images Asia, 167-8313.

750. People were reportedly forced to work on the renovation of a pagoda near Hsipaw in 1996. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0698.

751. For the construction of a pagoda in Palaw township. See Karen Human Rights Group, H24-6487.

752. As part of the development of the Kabaw valley since 1991, local Christians were forced to construct a Buddhist monastery. See Images Asia, 167-8347.

753. The information indicated that in 1996 people from Toungoo township were forced to work on the excavation and restoration of the Bayintnaung Palace in Toungoo, a site of significant historical importance. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0707.

754. There is information that in 1995, a large number of people in Mandalay Division were forced to clean the Mandalay Palace and dredge the moat. It had been suggested that this was in preparation for "Visit Myanmar Year 1996". See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0574 to 0575, 032-2424, 032-2426.

755. This work was from 1991 to at least 1995, and was reportedly on land confiscated from local people. See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0556 to 0557.

756. The information related to construction of a school in Falam township, Chin State (Images Asia, 167-8307); the construction of a school in Tichara village in Myawady township, Kayin State in 1995 and 1996 (Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0549 to 0550, 001-0618 to 0619); the completion of a clinic in Kanbauk village in Yebyu township, Tanintharyi Division (Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1125); construction of a school and a clinic as part of the development of the Kabaw valley in Sagaing Division since 1991 (Images Asia, 167-8347).

757. There was information that forced labour was used in Chin State during 1997 on infrastructure for the 8th national Student Sport Festival which, although planned for 1997, actually took place in Haka from 29 March to 8 April 1998. In preparation for the festival, people from Haka were forced to extend a football ground, build a stadium, and construct local roads. See Karen Human Rights Group, 154-5144. In Rakhine State, people were also forced to provide construction materials and carry out other work in relation to the 1993 national Student Sport Festival which was held in Sittway (Akyab). See written statement submitted by Witness 10, M07-6648.

758. There is information that forced labour was used in 1995 on the construction of the Sittway Hotel, at the beach near Sittway (Akyab), and in 1994 for construction of a hotel south of Ngapali, projects which were reportedly owned by senior members of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). See Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0560.

759. The Commission was provided with a copy of an order from the military to the village head demanding the construction of a toilet at a village south of Kawkareik in 1995. The order stated that "drastic action" would be taken against the village if it did not build itself a toilet. See 027-2295.

760. The information indicated that forced labour was used since December 1994 for the construction of a 30-mile fence in Mohnyin township in Kachin State. See Mirante, I/51-52.

761. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-1120, 001-1124.

762. TOTAL, 165-8278 (communication summarized in para. 75 above): "il n'est pas vrai que des travaux de nettoyage aient peu être réalisés par des travailleurs forcés dans le but de faciliter l'accès aux équipes du projet. Au cours des années 1993 et 1994, l'enlèvement de la végétation (le "clearing") [aurait] été assuré, sous [le contrôle de TOTAL], par la compagnie générale de Géophysique (CGG)".

763. Certain events recounted refer to facts which occurred before these dates: see, in particular the statement of Witness 230 concerning the construction of an airport at Mawlamyine (Moulmein) in 1988.

764. The distribution of persons who provided this information is as follows: Burman (4); Chin (1); Karenni (3); Karen (5); Mon (3); Muslim other than Rohingya (1); Rakhine (3); Rohingya (1); and Shan (1).

765. See statements of Witnesses 14, 217, 219, 238 and 243.

766. See statements of Witnesses 234 and 235.

767. See statements of Witnesses 17, 210 and 230.

768. See statement of Witness 3.

769. See statement of Witness 74.

770. See statement of Witness 13.

771. See statements of Witnesses 190 and 192.

772. See statement of Witness 129.

773. See statement of Witness 177.

774. See statements of Witnesses 10, 13, 99 and 110.

775. See statement of Witness 177.

776. See paras. 427-443 above.

777. Several witnesses mentioned that the order was transmitted by the village head or section leader (see statements of Witnesses 3, 96, 117, 219 and 243); others mentioned orders coming from the Ward LORC (see statement of Witness 13), or even from the District LORC (see statements of Witnesses 230, 234, 235 and 238).

778. See statements of Witnesses 170 and 210.

779. The towns and villages are divided according to their size.

780. See statements of Witnesses 14, 219 and 238.

781. See statement of Witness 219.

782. ibid.

783. See statements of Witnesses 13, 219, 234 and 235.

784. See statement of Witness 219.

785. ibid.

786. The amounts of money which had to be paid for a replacement vary, the statements specifying amounts ranging from 50 to 3,000 kyat (see, in particular, statements of Witnesses 13 (150 kyat), 96 (50 kyat), 217 (3,000 kyat) and 219 (1,500 kyat)).

787. See statement of Witness 219, who claimed to have seen workers put in stocks and exposed to the blazing sun for hours on end.

788. On this last point, see the statement of Witness 99.

789. Karen Human Rights Group, 032-2425 to 26; Human Rights Watch/Asia, H07-5797 to 99.

790. Karen Human Rights Group, 001-0028, 032-2425 to 26.

791. Karen Human Rights Group 001-0534.

792. See also statement of Witness 217.

793. Karen Human Rights Group, 032-2425.

794. See statement of Witness 99.

795. See statement of Witness 96.

796. See statement of Witness 237.

797. Human Rights Watch/Asia, H07-5798.

Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.