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ICRC Says Burma's Prisons Visit Suspended


The Red Cross says Burma's military government has stopped granting permission for the organization's humanitarian teams to visit Burmese prisons and labor camps.

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross have conducted more than 450 visits to Burma's security detention centers since 1999 -- to check on the prisoners' treatment while supplying them with essential drugs, soap and other supplies.

This year, however, a Red Cross spokeswoman says "the situation is not very good," with no visits authorized by the Burmese authorities.

The Red Cross official in Rangoon, Fiona Terry, tells VOA Burmese service local authorities are insisting that Burmese agencies affiliated with the military government must take part in any Red Cross visits. Terry says that would make it impossible to get an independent view of conditions in the prisons.

Human-rights group say the military junta that has controlled Burma for more than 40 years has more than 1,000 political prisoners in custody.

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