(Taungup, 6 February 2014) : The practice of forced labour, which was understandably diminished under the U Thein Sein government since it came to power in 2010, has surfaced again in southern Arakan, where many villagers are being reportedly engaged forcefully in a construction site of water channels there.
A villager named U Kyaw Naing Oo from Kyauk Sit Taung village under Taungup township has complained that the village administrator with the committee members of village treasures have forced the poor villagers to work at the construct site without offering any payment.
“Around 200 villagers from Kyauk Sit Taung and Kyauk Ni village are still working at the water channels construction site without any wages. The village administrator has forced them to work there voluntarily,” disclosed U Kyaw Naing Oo.
The construction work was started on 31 January 2014 and the villagers had been forced to work there since then by the village administrator. The village authority also asked all the villagers to pay the fine of 2500 Kyat per family for a day if they do not attend the work site.
Answering to queries from Narinjara over telephone, the Taungup township administrator (U Tin Lwin) admitted that he was aware of the issue. U Tin Lwin stated that he had already warned the Kyauk Sit Taung village administrator and ordered to stop the practice of forced labour in his localities.
He also added that Kyauk Sit Taung village administrator had already been called to the office of Taungup township administrator for asserting the order, otherwise he would be fined under the law.
Unconfirmed source says that the local villagers, who are working without any wages, have already sent a memorandum to the International Labour Organization inn Yangon with a copy to Taungup township authority.