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June 04, 2020

Forced labour needs to stop — for good

Myanmar became a member of the International Labour Organization on 18 May, 1948. The country established a mechanism to deal with complaints, in cooperation with the ILO, in 2007. The move came under the Supplementary Understanding (SU) with the ILO in 2007 and was part of efforts to meet Protocol 29 of the ILO.
Prior to 2019, a High Level Working Group (HLWG), formed as a transitional body before the National Complaints Mechanism (NCM) came into existence, had dealt with complaints related to forced labour.
Now, the National Complaints Mechanism has become operational, and anyone can lodge a complaint with the NCM via the Hluttaw, the Office of the President, regional and state governments, the Myanmar Human Rights Commission, ILO office (Yangon), Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, in person or by mail. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population can be contacted by phone on 067-3430184, 067-3430229, 067-3430274 and by e-mail on [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] The phone numbers and email addresses have been made available to ensure people can raise complaints easily.
Fighting forced labour involves all levels of government, and we applaud the government’s commitment to curb the practice in Myanmar.
For the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour in Myanmar, the cooperation of both employers and workers is required in implementing the National Complaints Mechanism.
To arrive at permanent and comprehensive solutions to the scourge of labour coercion and abuse, investment in workers needs to be prioritized, and their capacity to organize collectively to combat exploitation is critical to securing social and economic justice that leaves no one behind.
Industries are urged to consider all approaches to end forced labour because they employ mostly women workers, who, in particular, face inequality, poverty, lack of labour protection, and criminalization globally.
Forced labour has both direct and indirect social and economic consequences.
Under the national mechanism, alleged instances of forced labour would be handled through investigation, prosecution, and adequate punishment for those found guilty, as stipulated under the terms of Forced Labour Convention No. 29.
We are confident that the new initiatives of the government would help encourage people to come forward and support those affected by the practice. Forced labour needs to end — for good.

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