ILO Commission of Inquiry finds the Myanmar military has committed grave violations against unionists and perpetrated forced labour

Public Services International welcomes the report of the ILO Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Myanmar which demands the military to “immediately cease” all forms of violence against trade unionists and end all forms of forced labour.

In its 205-page report, the Commission found that violations perpetrated by the military—killings, disappearances, harassment, intimidation, breaking up of strikes and relentless targeting of trade union leaders—had a “disastrous impact on basic civil liberties” which prevented trade unions from exercising their right to freedom of association (Convention No. 87). The Commission also found evidence of forced and compulsory labour in violation of Convention No. 29.

The report cited evidence provided by PSI detailing violations against workers who deliver public services, particularly health workers who were amongst the first to take strike action against the military attacks on democracy. These violations include:

  • physical violence and arbitrary arrests of organisers of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)

  • issuing arrest warrants against at least 864 health workers for practicing their right to FOA

  • breaking up of collective action / strikes of medical practitioners and forcing them to work

  • revocation of licenses of health practitioners for participating in union actions and refusing to return to work

  • requiring medical practitioners to sign multiple year contracts in State hospitals without the right to resign

A COI is the highest level of investigation within the ILO and is generally reserved for grave and systemic violations. The COI recognises the need to restore democracy and to then bring the perpetrators of these heinous violations to account. It also includes recommendations to improve labour rights when democracy is restored.

Read more about the Commission of Inquiry into Myanmar.

Read more about PSI’s work on Myanmar.