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Forty villages undergoing forced labour

28 September 2009: Burmese Army authorities of the Thantlang township based military camp LIB 266 have ordered villagers from 40 villages to renovate military camps, in Chin state western Burma.

The Vuangtu village based Chief Commander Myo Zaw Win has ordered 40 villages to send 40 persons from each village to renovate the military camps, starting today September 28. The 40 villages have to send two persons from each village, who have to make arrangement for their own food, said a local in Belhar village.

“Forty persons from our Belhar village have to go to the military camp. It may take two days because they told us to bring food for two days. I think we have to erect fences for the military for security reasons because we have to bring only a knife,” he added.

The authorities issued the order to renovate their camp two weeks ago, but some villagers were busy cleaning bushes in their cultivated lands. They requested postponement till 28 September, said a Zephai villager.

“Our villagers have to go to the military camp this week as most of villagers have finished their work. We were allowed to delay the work at the camp by the Chief Commander,” he added.

Chin people are largely into farming and shifting agriculture to eke out a living.

Indeed, forced labour and pottering have come down in Chin state since 2008. This is the first time that villagers are undergoing forced labour during 2009.

There are about 50 military camps in Chin state. The authorities used to order Chin people to construct camps, erect fences and barracks without wages. - Khonumthung News

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