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Myanmar military arson attack leaves garment workers homeless

8 December, 2022The escalation of Myanmar junta’s military attacks in the Salingyi township has rendered scores of garment workers homeless. According to several news sources, the Myanmar junta torched houses in nine villages in the Salingyi township, Sagaing region, in early December. More than 40 houses of Industrial Workers' Federation of Myanmar members were burned down. 

The workers are employed in garment and textile factories in the region, and they say that the military destroyed the houses following a list of people involved in the civil disobedience movement.

NGO Data for Myanmar reported in August that as many as 28,434 civilian houses had been burned down by the military. Sagaing region is the most affected region.

News website The Irrawaddy cited a source from the Civil Defence and Security Organization that there was no clash between the resistance movement and the military in the villages. The purpose of the arson attack is to cut off the villages' support to the resistance movement.

“I believe more IWFM members' houses could be burned as we have about 900 members from two textile factories in those areas. IWFM calls on the international community to stop feeding the military with business profits, workers are suffering, and their lives are at stake under the military regime,”

says Khaing Zar, IWFM president.

“The merciless arson attacks again show that it is just not possible to do business ethically in Myanmar. The multinational companies still operating in the country should accelerate their divestment and make a responsible exit from Myanmar,”

says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie.
In September, Ethical Trading Initiative published a report that it is impossible to conduct responsible business in Myanmar. IndustriALL is engaging garment brands on a responsible exit from Myanmar.

Photo credit: Nway Oo Naing