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Tuesday, Nov 25th

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Suu Kyi supports expansion of ILO in Burma

Burma's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was briefed by an International Labour Organization (ILO) team in Rangoon on Friday led by Executive Director Guy Ryder...

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burma's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was briefed by an International Labour Organization (ILO) team in Rangoon on Friday led by Executive Director Guy Ryder.

Guy Ryder, the deputy director general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), meets with Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home on University Avenue in Rangoon on Friday, February 25, 2011. Ryder is in Burma to sign a one-year extension of an agreement with the Burmese junta to maintain an ILO office to handle citizens’ complaints involving forced labour. Photo: MizzimaSuu Kyi gave her support during a meeting held in her home on University Avenue. ILO projects include protecting labour rights and interests and advocating for the freedom to form trade unions.

‘The ILO explained to Daw Suu their planned expansion and  the mandate they presented to the Burmese regime’, NLD leader Ohn Kyaing told MIzzima.

The meeting included Ryder, ILO liaison officer Steve Marshall and three other ILO representatives, in addition to Nyan Win and Hanthar Myint of the NLD.

An ILO team met with about 80 human rights activists at Traders Hotel in Rangoon on Thursday.

During the meeting, participants expressed concern about the recruitment of child soldiers in Burma, and ILO officials said they planned to continue to hear complaints from Burmese citizens and work with the regime to remove child soldiers from the armed forces.

An NLD official said, ‘They explained how the army took responsibility for these child soldiers. The Army has issued orders of discharge in some cases, but not in others.’

The ILO and the Burmese government renewed a memorandum of understanding for one year on Thursday, which includes procedures for lodging complaints against forced labour cases and child soldier conscription.

People can also lodge complaints of forcible seizure of farmland with the ILO, said officials.

Human Rights Education Institute in Burma (HREIB) director Aung Myo Min said that the Burmese government has estimated that there are about 60,000 child soldiers in the army.  Other armed groups may contain about 6,000 child soldiers, say observers.