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07 avril 2006

Gabriel highlights struggle against Myanmar military

Yangon, Apr 06: Singer and human rights activist Peter Gabriel used his celebrity status to highlight the plight of the Myanmar people.

Founder of
WITNESS, a nonprofit human rights group, Gabriel hosted an event on Capitol Hill to press politicians in Washington to pass the poor human rights record of Myanmar's military junta to the United Nations Security Council.

, which donates video cameras to human rights groups to bring stories and images to the world, compiled a film documented by people in Myanmar. Gabriel presented the film titled 'Always on the Run: Internally Displaced People in Karen State' produced by WITNESS, a partner organisation on Burma Issues, which details the experiences of people forcibly displaced by the junta military in Myanmar.

"If we can use some of the footage that our partners have created to campaign and we think we should and there needs to be action and there needs to be action now,"
Gabriel said ahead of the event. Myanmar's military ignored a landslide election victory in 1990 by the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi and has continued to rule the country with an iron fist.

Nobel laureate
Suu Kyi has been in jail or under house arrest since May 2003 and the United States and others have consistently called for her release. United States Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been leading the campaign to refer Myanmar to the UN Security Council said the regime can be compared to countries like Iran and North Korea, if only it were to be seeking nuclear capabilities.

"If this regime were about to get nuclear weapons I think it would have a lot more interest around the world because this is in every respect a pariah regime just like Iran and North Korea have become,"
said McConnell. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently urged China and India to put more pressure on Myanmar's junta military to put a halt to human right violations.

Rice also said that countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) should do more to push for freedom in its fellow member, formerly known as Burma.
Rice said she brought up Myanmar at every meeting she had with officials from China and India, adding that President George W. Bush did the same.

The United States has imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Myanmar, including a ban on most imports, and Rice has told senators they would not be relaxed until the government changed its ways.

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