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ILO concerned by jailing of labour activist

Jan 27, 2009 (DVB), A representative of the International Labour Organisation has the ILO is concerned by the recent sentencing of labour activist Zaw Htay after he helped farmers in Magwe file a report to the organisation.

Zaw Htay was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment by Magwe court on 23 January on charges of leaking sensitive information.

He has worked with farmers in Nat Mauk township to file a report to the ILO on the seizure of more than 5000 acres of land by the military.

Steve Marshall, the ILO's liaison officer in Rangoon, said the organisation was doing what it could for Zaw Htay.

"ILO is working on Ko Zaw Htay’s case with particular concern. Negotiations are ongoing with the Burmese government on this," Marshall said.

"This is a very sensitive issue for us so it’s hard to say anything now," he said.

"ILO’s priority in Burma is to end forced labour in the country and to stop the use of child soldiers. Other issues are outside our mandate, but we will do as much as we can to solve this."

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min