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Red Cross To Close Two Offices in Burma


The International Committee of the Red Cross says it will close two of its offices in Burma because the country's military authorities are blocking its work.

In a statement today, the ICRC says its humanitarian work is at "near-paralysis." The organization says its staff members are unable to independently conduct prison visits and trips to sensitive border areas.

The statement says the ICRC will close offices in Mawlamyine and Kyaing Tong, in Burma's southeast, and will review whether to keep open its remaining three field offices.

In October, the military regime in Burma ordered the ICRC to close all its field offices. But, after negotiating with the government, the Red Cross was allowed to reopen them.

The United Nations estimates there are 1100 political prisoners in Burma. They include opposition leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Rangoon for 11 of the past 17 years.

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