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Reuters-U.S. report slams Myanmar h

Subject: Reuters-U.S. report slams Myanmar human rights record

U.S. report slams Myanmar human rights record
04:10 a.m. Feb 27, 1999 Eastern
BANGKOK, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The United States has criticised Myanmar's
military government for serious human rights violations including torture,
arbitrary detentions and forced labour.

The U.S. State Department said in its annual report on Myanmar, formerly
known as Burma, that the ruling generals ran a ``highly authoritarian
military regime'' which was holding more than 1,000 political prisoners.

``The government's longstanding severe repression of human rights continued
during the year (1998),'' said the report, which was released on the
Internet on Saturday.

``Citizens continued to live subject at any time and without appeal to the
arbitrary and sometimes brutal dictates of the military dictatorship.
Citizens do not have the right to change their government,'' it said.

The report said there were credible reports, particularly in ethnic
minority-dominated areas, that soldiers committed serious human rights
abuses, ``including extra-judicial killings and rape.''

``Disappearances continued, and members of the security forces beat and
otherwise abused detainees,'' it said.

``Arbitrary arrests and detentions for expression of dissenting political
views continued with increasing frequency in an effort to intimidate the
populace into submission in the face of deepening economic and political
instability,'' it said.

The report said some 200 members of parliament elected in Myanmar's last
democratic polls in 1990 had been detained since September 1998.

Those polls were won by a wide margin by the pro-democracy National League
for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, but
the military ignored the result, saying the country was not ready for

The reports said Myanmar was poor with an average per capita income of about
$400, which it said was equivalent to about $800 on a purchasing power
parity basis.

Myanmar officials were unavailable for immediate comment on the U.S. report.