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Myanmar's rights record worst: Amnesty

Myanmar's human rights record includes abuse of ethnic minorities and political prisoners.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 16:12 IST

Myanmar's human rights record, which includes abuse of ethnic minorities and political prisoners, remains one of the world's worst, Amnesty International said in its annual report on Tuesday.

The watchdog also slammed the military state for blocking international aid to displaced populations caught up in the junta's conflict with rebel groups, and for continuing to persecute peaceful opposition activists.

"The authorities in Myanmar continued to violate human rights through widespread and long-term political imprisonments, forced labour, land confiscations and displacement of minorities, thereby showing utter disregard for the population and the international community," Amnesty said.

Myanmar holds more than 1,100 political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won elections in 1990 but was not allowed to govern.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has been under house arrest for more than 10 of the last 17 years, met a top UN envoy on Saturday, marking the highest-level UN mission in the past two years.

At least 200 political prisoners were released in 2005, but Amnesty accused Myanmar of keeping prisoners in deplorable conditions and denying them access to lawyers and medical care.

Detainees were also tortured and given excessive prison terms without proper trials.

Another blight on Myanmar's record is the junta's systematic abuse of ethnic Shan, Karen, Mon and Rohingya civilians, who Amnesty said are vulnerable to forced labour, displacement and other egregious violations.

Rights groups estimate that about 11,000 have been displaced by conflict since February this year between ethnic rebel groups and the government.

Amnesty also reported that about 40 per cent of Myanmar's children were malnourished despite the country's rich resources.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.