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Bad news from a troubled country

May 23, 2006

Despite high hopes for Aung San Suu Kyi's release, most news from Burma is still worse than bad.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma said 90 activists had died in prisons, eight in interrogation centres, four in labour camps and 10 after being released. Another 15 disappeared while in custody. According to The Independent, details were also published of 127 pro-democracy activists who have died or disappeared in custody after alleged torture and ill-treatment in forced labour camps.

The junta has also cracked down on the Karen tribespeople on the Thai-Burmese border. Human Rights Watch has documented reports of troops looting and burning homes and planting anti-personnel landmines in civilian areas to terrorise the local population. In some cases, villagers were ordered to leave their homes or face execution.

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