June 17, 2024

Apparel Brands Advised To Reassess Myanmar Sourcing Policy

Garment workers advocacy group Fair Wear, has urged member clothing brands to re-assess their sourcing policy for Myanmar after the government announced a conscription law for military service.

“The military council of Myanmar announced a conscription law in February that makes young men and women subject to military service if called up, effective immediately,” Fair Wear said in a statement.

According to the law, male citizens between 18 and 45 years of age and female citizens between 18 and 35 years of age must serve in the military for a minimum of two years.

Workers working in clothing factories are fearful about this law, since over 90 percent of garment workers are between 18-35 years old, most of them migrants from various Myanmar provinces.

“Many young people have been trying to leave the country since the announcement, and labour activists warn it could trigger a mass exodus of young people,” Fair Wear added.

Since this law’s activation, workforce data has been collected from factory workers and workers were asked to fill out forms without explaining anything, leaving the workers worried and scared.

Fair Wear further told brands that this development will significantly impact their due diligence responsibility, but the linkages between their suppliers and the military regime is undeniable.

“In the process of responsible disengagement, member brands should collaborate with suppliers to carefully consider safety and security situation of workers,” the advocacy group advised.

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