InternationaI Labour Conference, 101

Committee on the AppIication of Standards
Special sitting to examine developments concerning the question of the observance by the
Government of Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
The Committee took note oI the observations oI the Committee oI Experts on the Application oI
Conventions and Recommendations on the application oI Convention No. 29 by the Government oI
Myanmar, as well as the report oI the ILO Liaison OIIicer in Yangon that included the latest de-
velopments in the implementation oI the complaints mecha-nism on Iorced labour established on 26
February 2007 with its trial period extended in February 2012, Ior a Iurther 12 months to 25 February
The Committee also noted the decisions oI the Governing Body oI November 2011 and March 2012. It
welcomed the several advances enumerated in these documents and Iur-ther elaborated in the statement
oI the Government representative and in the discussion in the Committee.
The Committee noted, in particular, the Government`s de-tailed inIormation on: the promulgation oI
the Ward or Vil-lage Tract Administration Act in February 2012, its deIini-tion oI Iorced labour and
penalties Ior its use and the repeal oI the Village Act and the Towns Act oI 1907; the orders issued by
the Commander-in-ChieI oI the DeIence Services in March 2012 advising all military personnel that
strict and stern military disciplinary actions shall be taken against perpetrators oI military under-age
recruitment and those oI April 2012 which make the new law prohibiting Iorced la-bour applicable to
the military with perpetrators being prosecuted under section 374 oI the Penal Code; the draIt Action
Plan concluded Ior the implementation oI the Memo-randum oI Understanding on the Elimination oI
Forced La-bour in Myanmar; budget allocations made Ior the payment oI wages Ior the public works at
all levels Ior 201213; the progress made on the translation into local languages oI the brochure on the
complaints mechanism; the statement made by the President on May Day 2012 committing the Govern-
ment to acceleration oI action to ensure the eradication oI all Iorms oI Iorced labour; disciplinary
measures taken against 166 military personnel, action taken under section 374 oI the Penal Code
against 170 other government oIIicials and Iive military personnel prosecuted under the Penal Code.
The Government representative also reIerred to the adoption and the implementation oI the Labour
Organizations Law and the registration oI 41 workers` organizations and ten employers` organizations
and the discussion oI modalities Ior the return oI Mr Maung Maung and the registration oI the
Federation oI Trade Unions oI Burma (FTUB) under existing law.
The Committee welcomed the progress achieved towards complying with the 1998 recommendations
oI the Commission oI Inquiry. It observed that many important steps had been taken by the
Government in this regard since its meet-ing last year and expected that the Committee oI Experts
would review the latest legislative and practical steps taken to combat and punish the use oI Iorced
labour at its meeting this year.
The Committee did, however, raise its continuing concern over the Constitutional provision which
provided an excep-tion Irom the prohibition oI Iorced labour Ior 'duties as-signed by the Union in
accordance with the law in the inter-est oI the public¨. It welcomed the Government representa-tive`s
statement that the Constitution could be amended where it was the will oI the people and trusted that
steps would be taken to ensure that any exception to Iorced labour provided Ior in the constitutional
and legislative Iramework was strictly limited to the narrow scope oI exceptions under Convention No.
The Committee welcomed the elaborate and detailed Ac-tion Plan developed between the Government
and the ILO, and insisted that all the social partners and civil society or-ganizations would play an
active role in prioritizing and assisting in the accelerated application oI the elements in the Plan most
relevant to the immediate implementation oI the Commission oI Inquiry recommendations. Prioritized
objec-tives, clear targets, and eIIective monitoring mechanisms, accompanied by suIIicient budgetary
and human resources, would be essential elements Ior transposing these steps into a proactive and
preventive campaign Ior the eradication oI all Iorms oI Iorced labour and the advancement oI workers`
The Committee welcomed the Government representa-tive`s statement that a culture oI impunity was
not tolerated and that the President had called Ior steps to be taken to ensure the respect Ior the rule oI
law throughout the coun-try. The Committee considered that the action taken to prosecute Iorced labour
should continue to be reinIorced and the newly adopted legislation eIIectively applied so as to ensure
complete accountability under the law. The Commit-tee trusted that eIIective and dissuasive sanctions
would be imposed to punish the use oI Iorced labour in all sectors and requested the Government to
review the impact oI the meas-ures that it had reported on so as to be in a position to strengthen them
where necessary. It Iirmly emphasized the importance oI the rule oI law and the independence oI the
judiciary as necessary preconditions Ior real democratiza-tion and change.
The Committee encouraged the Government and the ILO to monitor closely the progress made in the
implementation oI the Action Plan, especially as regards the use oI Iorced labour by the military, and
requested that inIormation be provided in this regard to the Committee oI Experts this year.
Welcoming the release oI numerous political and labour activist detainees, the Committee expected that
all Iurther such prisoners would be immediately released.
The Committee renewed its call Ior continuing collabora-tion oI all agencies in the United Nations
system in the eI-Iorts Ior the eIIective elimination oI Iorced labour in Myanmar.
It once again called on all investors to ensure that their ac-tivity in Myanmar was not used to perpetuate
or extend the use oI Iorced labour but rather made a positive contribution to its complete eradication, in
Iull respect Ior international labour standards, and recalled the availability oI the ILO to provide
appropriate support in this regard.
The Committee called Ior the strengthening oI the capac-ity oI the ILO Liaison OIIice to assist the
Government, the social partners and all other relevant stakeholders, to play a Iull and constructive role
in the eIIorts made to eliminate Iorced labour, including through the empowerment oI com-munities in
the knowledge and exercise oI their rights and responsibilities. The Committee trusted that
complainants and Iacilitators would continue to be protected in relation to their use and activities under
the complaints mechanism, the retention oI which it considered to be critically important.
The Committee urged the Government to provide detailed inIormation on the steps taken on all the
abovementioned matters to the Committee oI Experts Ior its examination this year and trusted that the
ConIerence would be in a position to take note oI signiIicant developments at its next session.
Extracted from Provisional Record 19 (Pt III)