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10 Jun 2021

Solidarity Center

Myanmar: Workers face repression & labour rights violations under the military coup

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"Labour Rights Violations by the Military in Myanmar" 10 June 2021

... On the 1st February 2021, a new government was due to be sworn in. Instead, the Tatmadaw (military of Myanmar) instigated a coup, arresting political leaders and ending civilian rule in Myanmar. It is ruling the country as the State Administration Council (SAC)...

Since then, trade union organisations and workers from all sectors, including public administration, have refused to work and joined a nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).1 Thousands of civilians have taken to the street under the banner of the CDM against the junta...

There are at least 11 pending warrants of arrest against national leaders of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), including Min Min Laht, BWFM President. On June 4, 2021 the passports of 28 members of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) were cancelled...

Around 40 military officers were deployed to arrest the Director of Solidarity Trade Union of Myanmar (STUM), Daw Myo Aye at Shwe Pyi Thar on April 15. She was charged under Penal Code 505A for participating in CDM, leading protests, and encouraging civilians and civil servants to join the CDM and faces up to 3 years in prison. Daw Myo Aye was denied bail and was brought to the court in Insein for hearings on May 6, 13, 20 and 27. Daw Myo Aye remains detained with severe health problems and limited access to medical facilities.

On February 18, union leader Ko Nyi Nyi Su, from the Myanmar Industry Craft Service-Trade Unions Federation (MICS-TUsF) was arrested. After the court hearing on March 4 he was sent to the notorious Insein Prison...

After martial law was imposed on March 14, the army opened, fire killing at least one worker and one villager at Xing Jia Factory. Action Labor Rights (ALR)...organised a union at Xing Jia. On March 21, around three trucks of soldiers were deployed at Htee Hlaing Shin Housing around midnight searching for union officers. On March 28-29 the military ambushed protesters in South Dagon Industrial Zone, killing Nay Lin Zaw, a union leader of AD Furniture (Wood Processing) and a member of Myanmar Industry Craft Service-Trade Unions Federation (MICS-TUsF). The army interrogated neighbours around the MICS office regarding the activities and people at the ‘labour office’ and deployed soldiers in front of the MICS office.

21 year old Zaw Zaw Htwe, a garment worker from Suntime JCK Company Limited and a member of Solidarity Trade Union (STUM) of Myanmar was shot in the head by the security forces on March 14 during the protest in Shwe Pyi Thar

Chan Myae Kyaw, a dump truck driver at SinoHydro copper mine and a member of the IndustriALL’s affiliate Mining Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (MWFM) was shot multiple times and killed by the soldiers on 27 March in a demonstration in Monywa.

The Tatmadaw declared 16 labour organisations illegal on March 2.8 They have raided the houses of union leaders and confiscated money and other private property. Arrests, detention, extrajudicial killing, and unlawful termination of workers involved in strike action has violated the right to Freedom of Association. All industrial zones in Yangon are currently under martial law, making it very difficult for workers to organise. On June 4, 2021 the Tatmadaw issued warrants for 28 Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) Central Committee members and leaders with Penal Code 124(A) and declared their passports void to block international travel.

Since illegally seizing power, the military has violated a range of internationally agreed standards including ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Rights to Organise, 1948 (No. 87), the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core UN conventions. The attacks on health-workers violate provisions of the Geneva Convention and a range of other agreements affirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016).