Myanmar: Laura seeks help restore democracy

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Washington, Dec 11:Calling Myanmar's military rulers ''brazen despots'', US First Lady Laura Bush has urged the neighbours of the southeast nation to help bring about a democratic transition there.

Speaking on the occasion of International Human Rights Day at the White House yesterday, she accused the Myanmar's junta of ''crushing political dissent and generating widespread misery and poverty.'' Ms Bush said, ''The people of Myanmar had been denied nearly every right contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

President Bush and I call on all nations, especially Myanmar's neighbours, to use their influence to help bring about a democratic transition in Myanmar.'' Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a UN special envoy would continue efforts to bring Myanmar's generals and detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch in its new report says ''Many more people were killed and detained in the violent government crackdown on monks and other peaceful protestors in last September than the Myanmar's government has admitted.'' Since the crackdown, the military regime has brought to bear the full force of its authoritarian apparatus to intimidate all opposition, hunting down protest leaders in night, the report said.

''The crackdown in Myanmar is far from over as harsh repression continues and the government is still lying about the extent of the deaths and detentions,'' said Asia Director at Human Rights Watch Brad Adams.


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