More Forced Labor in Chin State, Burma

TheChief Minister of Western Burma’s Chin State is forcing citizens to work for nopay, according to a recent press release by the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO). 

Overthe last month, Chief Minister Hung Ngai ordered civil servants to spend theirSaturdays cleaning areas of the capital city of Hakha, threatening to cut theirsalaries if they refused.  He also forced100 other people to work, threatening them with a fine if they did not comply.The civil servants cleaned the construction site of a government guest house anda road leading to a military base.

“They called us for forced laborwhen we should be working for our own survival. I had to miss out on work formy livelihood that day because of the forced labor,” a local man told CHRO.

Forced labor is common in ChinState. In the report Life Under the Junta, PHR reported that 91% of households in Chin State had atleast one family member that was forced to portermilitary supplies, sweep for landmines, build roads, or do other hard labor.

AlthoughBurma is a signatory to the Forced Labor Convention,the government continues to commit this human rights violation. When householdmembers are forced to work for the government, they have less time to spendearning wages or tending their fields resulting in less income and less foodfor their family. PHR condemns the recent incidents in Chin State and urges theBurmese government to change this policy.

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