International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Lawfare and Impunity in Burma Since the 2000 Ban on Forced Labour

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The article examines the efforts of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) over the past decade to convince government officials to take meaningful steps towards the eradication of forced labour in Burma. Despite the government's intransigence on this issue, ILO-led interventions have produced some tangible results: a ban on the practice in 2000 and the creation of a complaint mechanism in 2007 that enables its Liaison Officer to determine whether the claims of alleged victims warrant further investigation by the relevant authorities. Critics of the ILO argue that these achievements, although welcome, fail to address the magnitude of the problem. This article details how events at the macro- and micro-levels have affected each other and thus the possibility for further progress on these issues. Special attention is devoted to the coercive use of legal instruments (i.e. lawfare) by both parties and the impact real and threatened actions have had upon their respective goals. The dynamics provide insights into the limits of the complaint mechanism and the efforts to end impunity in Burma with regard to the continued use of forced labour. © 2012 Asian Studies Association of Australia.

Publication Title

Asian Studies Review

Publication Date

10-4-2012

Volume

36

Issue

2

First Page

189

Last Page

206

ISSN

1035-7823

DOI

10.1080/10357823.2012.685448

Keywords

Burma, forced labour, forced labor, human rights, impunity, International Labour Organisation (ILO), lawfare, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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