The International Labor Organization says trade unionists in Myanmar are being harassed and hiding in fear

Anti-coup protesters hold up banners and chant slogans to protest the military coup in Mandalay today. (AP photo)

Geneva: The International Labor Organization, after receiving an official complaint from the world’s largest trade union federation, said that Myanmar trade unionists have been arrested and harassed in house-to-house searches, while others are hiding in fear.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reported widespread restrictions on workers’ rights imposed by the Myanmar military since the February 1 coup, a document dated March 11 prepared for the ILO’s governing body.

Media and witnesses said that Myanmar security forces shot pro-democracy protesters on Monday, killing six people, a day after dozens of protesters were killed and attackers torched several Chinese-funded factories in Yangon.

The International Labor Organization said: “Complaints have been received from workers who have been subjected to threats and intimidation due to their absence from work and their participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (the civil disobedience movement).”

There was no immediate response from the Myanmar mission in Geneva to a Reuters request for comment.

The United Nations agency, which has monitored forced labor for years in the country, still has programs there that address child labor.

The International Labor Organization said that military authorities restricted freedoms of expression and assembly, blocked social media, and declared 16 workers-related organizations illegal, leaving three registered union federations.

The ITUC submitted a complaint on March 5 to the International Labor Organization’s Committee on Freedom of Association “regarding a widespread violation of freedom of association and basic civil liberties by the Myanmar military,” the Brussels-based organization said.

The ILO Board of Directors is due to review the complaint on March 22.

forum It is made up of representatives of states, employers ‘groups and workers’ organizations Consider a draft resolution expressing “grave concern over arrest, intimidation and threats against trade unionists, as well as declaring 16 workers’ organizations illegal.”

The decision stipulates that the army should drop any charges against trade unions that peacefully participated in the protests.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder Former President of the International Trade Union Confederation Last month, he issued statements calling for an end to the intimidation of workers and the restoration of civilian rule.

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