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Amnesty International: Burma's Human Rights Situation No Better - 2003-12-22


The human rights group, Amnesty International, says Burma's human rights situation has worsened since a May 30th confrontation between government supporters and opposition demonstrators in the northern part of the country.

Amnesty representatives who recently completed a visit to Burma told reporters in Bangkok today (Monday) that there has been an upsurge in human rights violations.

They said Burma's military government has increasingly put people in detention for peacefully expressing dissenting views.

Mission leader Catherine Baber said they were not allowed to meet with people they had wanted to see--including detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She said the explanation given was that the time was not convenient for a meeting.

Amnesty has called for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners in Burma. Ms. Baber said the military government acknowledged the continued detention of 24 people who were arrested immediately after the May confrontation, as well as an additional 53 people arrested since then.

Human rights groups estimate that there are more than 13-hundred political prisoners still in Burmese jails.

The military earlier this year announced a so-called road map plan for democracy that would include changing the nation's constitution. But it did not announce a timetable for that to happen.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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