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Myanmar rights abuse 'condemned'.

12/25/2008 5:28:46 AM

The UN General Assembly has condemned the ongoing human rights violations in Myanmar, and called on the government in Naypyidaw to stop conducting politically motivated arrests.

The resolution released on Wednesday was sponsored by the US, Australia, South Korea, Israel and many other European countries, and was approved by a vote of 80 to 25, with 45 abstentions.

It also called on the country's military government to free all detainees and political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, the prominent opposition leader and head of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

'Blatant interference'

Myanmar accused the assembly of "blatant interference" in its internal political process and said it will not be bound by the resolution.

Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but do reflect the views of the 192-member world body.

Myanmar's representative, who was not identified, told the assembly the country had made significant political strides, and was on track for a transition to democratic rule that includes multi-party elections in 2010.

But the resolution expressed "grave concern" at the failure to include members of the NLD, and other ethnic groups and political parties "in a genuine process of dialogue, national reconciliation and transition to democracy".

The General Assembly also expressed concern at the government's decision to go ahead with a referendum on the constitution "in an atmosphere of intimidation and without regard to international standards of free and fair elections at a time of dire humanitarian need" after Cyclone Nargis devastated large parts of the country in May.

However, the assembly did take note of the government's co-operation with international aid agencies in delivering aid to cyclone victims "despite its initial denial of access, which resulted in widespread suffering and increased the risk of loss of life".

The cyclone affected at least 2.4 million people and left an estimated 130,000 people dead or missing.

Myanmar's government, which has ruled since 1962, is accused of tolerating no political dissent and heavily cracked down on pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks in September 2007.

It holds more than 2,100 political prisoners, an increase from nearly 1,200 before the demonstrations, according to human rights groups. 2003 - 2008

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Date:Jan 5, 2009
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