312th Session of the Governing Body of International Labour Organization (November 2011)
Statement by delegate of India on Agenda Item on Developments concerning the question of the observance by the Government of Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention No. 29
1. We have listened carefully to the statement made by the Ambassador of the Union of Myanmar. We would like to appreciate the progress being made in the observance of the Forced Labour Convention No. 29 by the Government of Myanmar as well as the ongoing cooperation between the Government and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in this mater.
2. We have witnessed significant developments in the political situation recently. A new Constitutional Government has taken office in March 2011. The Government has initiated a series of economic, social and policy reforms to improve the social and economic life of the people of Myanmar. The President and his Government have launched a major programme of legislative and policy reform which has often involved Parliamentary debates and interactions with the business community, the UN agencies and the international community. We welcome the positive moves of Government and feel encouraged in the manner in which the Government of Myanmar is continuing to address the issues of concern in the social and labour spheres to ensure respect for human rights and democratic freedoms.
3. The ongoing awareness raising workshops that have been conducted recently will serve their purpose of making the people realize their rights and remedies. The information brochure has been translated into local languages and distributed within the country by the Government and the ILO with support from NGOs and community-based organizations.
4. We feel encouraged by the reports that underage recruitment/enforced labour is being systematically tackled and that the armed forces continue to respond to underage recruitment complaints and deal with them efficiently. Application of suitable punitive measures will discourage any sense of impunity that may persist.
5. We have noted that legislative Bills replacing the Villages and Towns Act of 1907 and the Prisons Rules of 1894 are undergoing Parliamentary scrutiny. Further, under the general amnesty granted in October 2011, labour activists have been released from prison. We are also informed that currently there are no persons imprisoned in connection with forced labour activities. These are positive developments.
6. India has consistently encouraged dialogue and cooperation between ILO and the member States to resolve all outstanding issues. India has been and continues to remain strongly opposed to the practice of forced labour which is expressly prohibited under our Constitution.
7. We wish to commend the Director General of ILO and his team for their efforts in assisting Myanmar to tackle the problem of forced labour and encourage the Government of Myanmar to remain Firmly engaged in this cooperative venture.