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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses international law in Myanmar. The efforts of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Commission of Inquiry to eradicate the use of forced labour in Myanmar, and the nature of the military regime’s response to these efforts, represent a remarkable chapter in the history of international law. Of note, first, is the determination of the ILO to test the limits of its power to enforce compliance with the resolutions of its governing body. Second, Myanmar’s engagement with the ILO clarified the vexed issue of what constitutes a peremptory norm of international law. Third, civil litigation in the United States around the issue of forced labour by transnational corporations in Myanmar uncovered the scope and potential for domestic courts to apply international law. Finally, Myanmar’s variable and often extreme responses to the Commission’s findings demonstrate the dynamics of state resistance to and engagement with international law.

Keywords: Myanmar, international organizations, international law, host state law, International Labour Organization

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