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Human Rights Watch: No Improvement in Burma's Human Rights Since 1988 'Massacre'


A prominent human rights group is alleging that the Burmese government has made no moves to improve human rights over the past 20 years.

Human Rights Watch issued a report Thursday on the eve of the 20th anniversary of what it says was the "massacre" of pro-democracy demonstrators. The New York-based group says millions of Burmese took to the streets on August 8, 1988 to demand an end to military rule.

Government forces violently crushed the mass protests, opening fire into crowds of students and Buddhist monks.

Political activists in Burma and overseas say they plan to mark the Friday anniversary of the uprising and bloody repression that left nearly three thousand people dead.

The anniversary comes a day after the departure of a United Nations human rights envoy from Burma. Special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana says he received positive signs that Burma's military government accepts his need to investigate allegations of abuse.

Quintana met with top officials from the opposition National League for Democracy and political prisoners during his five-day visit. But he was not allowed to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi gained prominence during the 1988 protests, and helped found the NLD to challenge the rule of a new group of generals who seized power following the crackdown.

Burma's ruling military allowed elections in 1990, but refused to recognize the results of that race and the victory of the opposition National League for Democracy.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, has been under some form of detention for most of the past two decades.

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