4 Myanmar officials get jail over forced labor.YANGON, Feb. 3 Kyodo
Four local officials in Myanmar were sentenced to prison terms from eight to 16 months last Monday, for using forced labor in public development projects, a U.N. official said Thursday.
''This is a very significant development because this is the first time anybody has ever been found guilty of imposing forced labor in Myanmar,'' said Richard Horsey hors·y also hors·ey
adj. hors·i·er, hors·i·est
1. Of, relating to, or resembling horses or a horse.
2. Devoted to horses and horsemanship: the horsy set.
3. , a liaison officer from the International Labor Organization International Labor Organization (ILO), specialized agency of the United Nations, with headquarters in Geneva. It was created in 1919 by the Versailles Treaty and affiliated with the League of Nations until 1945, when it voted to sever ties with the League. in Yangon.
The Kawmhu Township court gave 16 months in jail to Sein Paw, and eight-month jail terms to Kyaw Thin, Myint Thein and Aung Khin, in two separate cases filed by villagers in the township in mid 2004.
Sein Paw and Aung Khin were the heads of village councils in two villages and the others were council members. Kawmhu is in the Yangon Division Yangon Division is an administrative division of Myanmar. It is bordered by Bago Division in the north and east, the Gulf of Mottama in the south, and Ayeyarwady Division in the west. , about 50 kilometers south of the capital.
The villagers said the four forced them to work on a road construction project under threat of punishment.
Myanmar has been accused by human rights groups and many countries of widespread use of forced labor in the country, especially for public work projects such as road building.
In 2000, the ILO's governing body Noun 1. governing body - the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he took the unprecedented step of recommending its member countries impose trade and other sanctions on Myanmar because of the lack of cooperation by Myanmar authorities in tackling rampant forced labor.
''Although the problem remains serious, this step will go some way to changing the climate of impunity surrounding those who impose forced labor and this can help to reduce the prevalence of the practice,'' Horsey said.