Maungdaw, Arakan State: The authorities had been still using forced labor in northern Arakan- Maungdaw and Buthidaung – where the Rohingya people reside on March 5, said a NGOs worker who didn’t want to mention his name.
“The authorities- Burmese border security force (Nasaka) and General Engineer (GE)- are collecting Rohingya people from the villages where the authorities are repairing the road of Maungdaw-Kyein Chaung.”
“Every day 300 Rohingya people are working on the road without foods and wages. The Rohingya have to carry their foods from their homes to work on the road.”
Most of the Rohingya -- day laborers – are collected by the village administration officer as per the order of authorities to supply the laborers. A village has to supply more than 50 people to work on the road and it is depended on the population of village, said a village administration officer from Maungdaw.
“The authorities are not giving us any wages to pay the laborers who worked on the road. Most of the laborers are day workers and their families depend on their work. If they have to pay force labor, the families will become starving.”
Similarly, the Light Infantry Battalion(LIB) No. 552 is using forced labor to build the battalion since last two years nearby Rohingya villagers, said a village administration officer from Buthidaung Township.
“The battalion is situated eastern side of Mayu River and established on 1997.”
The army officers order the village admin to supply laborers to work at battalion. The laborers have to work – grass cutting, building road, clearing the compound of residents, carrying water from walls, working on the confiscated land and fences erecting – in the compound of battalion with their own foods. The army officers are not giving any wages to the laborers, said a school teacher from the said area.
“The laborers are from Rohingya community who work on their own cultivate fields or daily laborers. Their family members depend on their work. The Rohingya forced laborers’ families will become starving if the Rohingya people are frequently working in the army battalion.”
The Burmese new government had declared that no force labor in the country, but the authorities are still using forced labor in the ethnic areas and especially in the Rohingya area- northern Arakan- the forced labor is going high up now to build road, battalion and authorities compound, said a politician from Maungdaw.