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Burmese Human Rights Activist Ma Su Su Nwe Earns International Prize


The Canadian rights group Rights and Democracy has awarded its 2006 John Humphrey Freedom Award to Burmese human rights activist Ma Su Su Nwe.

The Asian Human Rights Commission praised Ma Su Su Nwe for receiving the award. In a statement Friday, the Hong Kong-based commission said Ma Su Su Nwe was recognized for her "inspiring individual efforts" to confront local authorities over forced labor in Burma. Because of her actions, she was jailed from October of 2005 until June of this year.

The Montreal-based group, Rights and Democracy, presents the $25,000 John Humphrey Freedom Award each year to an organization or individual for exceptional achievement in the promotion of human rights and democratic development.

Asian Human Rights Commission Executive Director Basil Fernando said Ma Su Su Nwe is a worthy recipient of the award for her fight against the institutions in her country that he said attempt to dominate people's lives.

The award is named in honor of the Canadian John Peters Humphrey, a human rights law professor who prepared the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a related story, Jailed Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been named by Forbes magazine to its list of the world's 100 most powerful women.

In a statement issued Thursday, the magazine ranked the jailed activist as the 47th most powerful woman.

Burma's military leadership crushed a pro-democracy movement in 1988 and refused to recognize the 1990 election victory by the opposition National League for Democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of the last two decades under house arrest.

Earlier this year, Burmese leaders announced they were extending the house arrest for Aung San Suu Kyi for another year.

Forbes ranks German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the world's most powerful woman, followed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and China's Vice Premier Wu Yi.

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