Year after year it is the same story. The International Labour Organisation flags up and condemns the forced labour policies of the Myanmar junta. The junta make some noises and appear willing to make  changes. They then fail to deliver spectacularly. And the ILO issues yet another statement regretting the lack of progress. And so it was that yesterday the 295th session of the ILO

expressed its profound concern at the continued lack of any meaningful progress towards abolishing forced labour. It was also concerned that persons who had complained about the use of forced labour were being prosecuted and asked for their immediate release. The Governing Body decided that the International Labour Conference this year would review further action to be taken to effectively secure the compliance by Myanmar with this convention as well as ways to ensure that no action would be taken against persons or their representatives who complained about forced labour.

How long is this to continue? The army is the main culprit. It displaces and disposesses rural people and uses them to perform various construction and other work without pay or very little pay. The army also uses children to work as combatants and as support staff. The situation in the border areas on the Thai border and the Bangladeshi border in northern Rakhine (Arakan state) is particularly serious.

Khaleda Zia gets on fine with these military chaps. She has been over there in 2003 and she has met various SPDC generals in Dhaka. Apart from gas pipelines, corridors and trade in pulses and onions, does she ever raise the issue of forced labour? Indeed do her discussions about Rohingya’s lead her to discuss forced labour?