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US Senators Urge UN Action on Burma


Two senior members of the US Senate are urging Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to call on the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on Burma.

In a letter today (Wednesday), Senators Mitch McConnell (of Kentucky), leader of the Senate's Republican minority, and Dianne Feinstein (of California), Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary terrorism subcommittee, wrote that Burma's current human rights situation merits a "strong and meaningful response" by the United States.

The senators criticized Burma's military government for repressive measures in response to the largest non-violent demonstrations in Burma in five years.

Security forces have detained at least 50 activists, and undercover police have maintained a strong presence in Rangoon since protests began this month over the military's sharp increase in fuel prices.

Separately, the European Union issued a statement Tuesday condemning the arrests in Burma.

The EU urged the military government to release all politicial prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past 18 years.

Demonstrations are extremely rare in Burma, where more than 1,200 activists are imprisoned.

The last major demonstrations in Burma took place in 1988. The student-led uprising was directed at the military government and triggered by frustration with the country's poor economy. An estimated three-thousand people were killed when the army crushed the protests.

Information for this story is provided by AP.

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