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Combating human rights violations and forced labour in Myanmar: the approach of the UN and the ILO

Gunnarsson, Gunnar Narfi LU (2011) JAMM06 20111
Department of Law
Abstract
The practice of forcing a person to perform work without his or her consent and the denial of freedom to leave work has been part of human history for centuries. Despite great effort by the international community to combat forced labour, this scourge is still a prevalent practice in both developed and developing countries, with old as well as new forms of coercion being carried out every day. Millions of people are victims of forced labour and there are no particular signs that it is decreasing.

The purpose of this thesis is to examine how human rights violations and forced labour in Myanmar have been approached by the two most prominent international human rights organizations in the world, the United Nations (UN) and the... (More)
The practice of forcing a person to perform work without his or her consent and the denial of freedom to leave work has been part of human history for centuries. Despite great effort by the international community to combat forced labour, this scourge is still a prevalent practice in both developed and developing countries, with old as well as new forms of coercion being carried out every day. Millions of people are victims of forced labour and there are no particular signs that it is decreasing.

The purpose of this thesis is to examine how human rights violations and forced labour in Myanmar have been approached by the two most prominent international human rights organizations in the world, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Forced labour is most commonly imposed by private agents, but has been carried out in Myanmar for decades by the state (the military and civilian authorities). In addition to forced labour, other egregious human rights violations have been taking place there for decades.

The thesis describes the human rights situation in Myanmar, both with regard to general human rights as well as so-called labour related human rights. The national legislation of Myanmar is examined, as well as the international obligations that the country is bound by.

The thesis examines what international mechanisms are available in general under the UN and the ILO system to address human rights violations, and describes how they have been applicable with regard to Myanmar. The approach of the UN and the ILO over a long period is analysed and what actions those two organizations have taken with regard to Myanmar, and also how the government has responded to those actions.

The thesis concludes that neither the UN nor the ILO have made substantial success in convincing the government to eradicate forced labour, or other human rights abuses, and that the Myanmar authorities have only implemented a handful of recommendations of both organizations. The approach of the ILO has however been reacted to more positively by the government and despite not having implemented the main recommendations of the ILO, there are some positive signs that the government is moving in the right direction. The response of the government has however been small and grudging.

The thesis further concludes that neither the ILO nor the UN have the power to force Myanmar to change its fundamental systems or the way it treats its citizens. The few positive steps identified in the thesis will however hopefully result in a regime change in the near future, where the ILO, because of its detailed analysis, technical assistance offered and the specific and concrete recommendations to problems the ILO has identified, is in a position to shape the changes that come about. (Less)
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author
Gunnarsson, Gunnar Narfi LU
supervisor
organization
course
JAMM06 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Master in International Human Rights Law and International Labour Rights
language
English
id
1977213
date added to LUP
2011-06-14 09:42:42
date last changed
2011-06-14 09:42:42
@misc{1977213,
  abstract     = {The practice of forcing a person to perform work without his or her consent and the denial of freedom to leave work has been part of human history for centuries. Despite great effort by the international community to combat forced labour, this scourge is still a prevalent practice in both developed and developing countries, with old as well as new forms of coercion being carried out every day. Millions of people are victims of forced labour and there are no particular signs that it is decreasing.

The purpose of this thesis is to examine how human rights violations and forced labour in Myanmar have been approached by the two most prominent international human rights organizations in the world, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Forced labour is most commonly imposed by private agents, but has been carried out in Myanmar for decades by the state (the military and civilian authorities). In addition to forced labour, other egregious human rights violations have been taking place there for decades.

The thesis describes the human rights situation in Myanmar, both with regard to general human rights as well as so-called labour related human rights. The national legislation of Myanmar is examined, as well as the international obligations that the country is bound by.

The thesis examines what international mechanisms are available in general under the UN and the ILO system to address human rights violations, and describes how they have been applicable with regard to Myanmar. The approach of the UN and the ILO over a long period is analysed and what actions those two organizations have taken with regard to Myanmar, and also how the government has responded to those actions.

The thesis concludes that neither the UN nor the ILO have made substantial success in convincing the government to eradicate forced labour, or other human rights abuses, and that the Myanmar authorities have only implemented a handful of recommendations of both organizations. The approach of the ILO has however been reacted to more positively by the government and despite not having implemented the main recommendations of the ILO, there are some positive signs that the government is moving in the right direction. The response of the government has however been small and grudging. 

The thesis further concludes that neither the ILO nor the UN have the power to force Myanmar to change its fundamental systems or the way it treats its citizens. The few positive steps identified in the thesis will however hopefully result in a regime change in the near future, where the ILO, because of its detailed analysis, technical assistance offered and the specific and concrete recommendations to problems the ILO has identified, is in a position to shape the changes that come about.},
  author       = {Gunnarsson, Gunnar Narfi},
  keyword      = {Master in International Human Rights Law and International Labour Rights},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Combating human rights violations and forced labour in Myanmar: the approach of the UN and the ILO},
  year         = {2011},
}