Strongly criticising Myanmar's military junta for the situation in the country, US President George W Bush on Tuesday imposed sanctions on its leaders, saying every civilised nation has a responsibility to stand up for the people who are suffering under dictatorships.
Announcing a series of punitive measures designed to bring about peaceful change in Myanmar, Bush said Americans are "outraged" by the goings on in the country.
"Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma, where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear," Bush said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Bush said the United states would impose strict economic sanctions against the country and continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups there.
"The ruling junta remains unyielding, yet the people's desire for freedom is unmistakable," Bush said.
"The United States will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. We will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members.
The regime is holding more than a thousand political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi,whose party was elected overwhelmingly by the Burmese people in 1990," he said.
He said basic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship were severely restricted and forced child labour, human trafficking and rape were common in the country.
"We will continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma and urge the UN and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom," Bush said.