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Burma Jails Two Officials Over Forced Labor


A state media, New Light of Myanmar, report today said that the two men were sentenced late last month, just days after military ruled Burma signed an agreement with the International Labor Organization (ILO).

According to the agreement, Burmese can report incidents of forced labor to the world body. The agreement allows an ILO liaison officer in Rangoon to make a preliminary investigation into allegations and guarantees that the government will not retaliate against those making complaints.

In another case, the report said five Forest Department personnel were dismissed from their jobs for forcing villagers to cut down trees.

The report did not mention any ILO involvement.

The ILO says forced labor is common in Burma and has accused the Burmese government of supporting the practice. The military government's decision to cooperate with the world body came after much delay, and only after the United Nations agency threatened sanctions and prosecution at the UN's International Court of Justice.

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