Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Burma: Burmese Army increase use of forced labour

Source: Kaladan Press Network Please visit and show your support and appreciation

The Burmese Army has been forcing villagers to dig trenches required in Maungdaw Township since the first of March, an aide of the army and the Nasaka said.

People of Maung Nama village and Bawli Bazar village tracts of Maungdaw Township have to provide 20 villagers per village for digging trenches, at the foot of Mayu Mountain. The villagers are not given any wages or any other means of support.

The villagers have to work at the site from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. The Chairman of the village has to provide 20 villagers per village at about 7:00 am, and then has to send them within 8:00 am, to the construction site.

Forced labor has been on the rise since the first week of March, because of the deployment of army personnel in Maungdaw Township. The deployment was a result of the tension between Burma and Bangladesh, over the issue of fencing the Burmese side of the Burma-Bangladesh border, a village elder from Maungdaw said.

Recently, Burma transferred large numbers of armed soldiers to Maungdaw from Buthidaung Township, carrying heavy weapons.

According to a local elder from Taungbro (Bangladesh side), a flag meeting was held at Ghoon Doon of Bangladesh between BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) and the Nasaka (Burma’s border security force) on April 11, over the issue of the Burma-Bangladesh border fencing. During the meeting, both sides remained dissatisfied over the fencing issue.

As a result, the army deployment increased in Maungdaw Township, as well as harassment of Rohingya villagers was also augmented. The army looted vegetables and chilli from the Rohingya farmers and also looted fish from the fishermen. The armies also try to attempt rape to the Rohingya women and young girls in isolated villages, according to a businessman from the locality.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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