Saturday, 5 January 2008

Cool Guys From Taunggote

4 January 2008
Original report : Naw Say Paw, DVB

Ko Se Thu and Ko Moe Naing Soe, both from Taunggote managed to keep their cool while being questioned about their distribution of leaflets.

The two young gentlemen were taken to the local authority office while they were distributing leaflets, containing information of the government's agreement with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) in February 2006 , concerning the abolition of Forced Labour.

As the young men came out of the Taunggote central market, after distributing the leaflets, Hla Tun a police official and his team, who were waiting outside, took them to SPDC office in town for questioning.

The constable asked,' What kind of leaflets are they, Ko Se Thu ? '.

Ko Se Thu replied,' 'Why don't you read it yourself, if you want to know', as he pushed the leaflet to the officer, before going out to buy some bettle nuts.

When he came out of the betel nut shop he was asked,'Ko Se Thu, SPDC needs you to attend at the SPDC office for some discussions', to which Ko Se Thu replied, 'I am quite busy. It's not the most convenient time for me so I'll refuse this opportunity', and walked on.

However, by the gate of the central market, they once again came face to face with the awaiting police officials, including Ko Hla Htwe, who took them to the town's SPDC office, where they were questioned separately.

Ko Se Thu said, 'They asked me why I was distributing the leaflets ', and I replied,' I don't want to be forced to do something that I don't agree with, and also I don't want anyone to be in that position. Some people are ignorant of their rights (to refuse forced labour), so that's why I was making sure that they know.' They were dismissed after about an hour of questioning.

He insisted that the agreement that the government signed with the ILO in February 2006 is a legal document so there is no need for questions about the distribution of the leaflets.

In the past, U Aye Myint, a lawyer from Pago and Miss Su Su Nwe from Kor Hmu, Rangoon had been arrested and jailed for reporting information to ILO.

To read the agreement on 26 February 2007 of a Supplementary Understanding between the ILO and Burma (Myanmar) please click here.

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