Myanmar: BWI denounces military junta’s sentencing of labour leader

(Photo: ILO)

The Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) joins fellow global unions and federations in vehemently denouncing the appalling detention, kidnapping, and subsequent seven-year incarceration of MICS-TUsF General Secretary Thet Hnin Aung by the military junta in Myanmar. His arrest in June 2021, while peacefully participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement, demonstrates the military junta's blatant disregard for human rights.

Thet Hnin was clandestinely detained and kept incommunicado for almost five months at the South Dagon Military Interrogation Centre. His covert and cruel treatment there is an affront to the fundamental values of justice. The fact that his family was kept in the dark demonstrated the junta's total lack of accountability, transparency, and impunity. 

Likewise, Thet Hnin’s sentencing under the new Myanmar Counter Terrorism Law is extremely troubling, especially given that the judicial proceedings were held in a military tribunal. Thet Hnin Aung, a dedicated trade union leader, has suffered physical and psychological abuse as well as hearing loss and digestive system difficulties as a result of torture. His incarceration, which included solitary confinement and beatings, is a gross violation of a recognized advocate for workers' rights.

BWI urges the international trade union movement to demand Thet Hnin Aung's immediate and unconditional release, underlining the grave violation of his human rights and the unjust nature of his imprisonment. We call on all our affiliates, partners and allies to join in solidarity actions demanding justice for Thet Hnin Aung and all other trade unionists and political prisoners unjustly targeted for standing up against the military coup. The international community must unite to denounce these heinous abuses and to oppose the persecution imposed by the military dictatorship over Myanmar's workers and trade unionists.