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Democracy Activists Urge UN to Probe Rights Abuses in Burma


Former participants in a 1988 uprising against Burma's military led government are calling on the United Nations to launch a new probe into alleged human rights abuses there.

A key leader of the student movement, Min Ko Naing, sent the letter to the office of the U.N. Human Rights Commission Tuesday, to mark the day when a fellow protester, Phone Maw, was killed 19 years ago.

Min Ko Naing invited the U.N. to send a representative to visit Burma and see whether there is freedom of speech, association and demonstration.

He said that before 1988, people in Burma had not even heard of human rights. And he said he wants to honor his friend, who sacrificed his life for human rights.

Outrage over Phone Maw's death sparked even larger protests that were crushed by military troops in August 1988. Thousands of people were killed or injured.

Last month, activists held a rare demonstration calling for better living conditions. Another protest followed last week. After both rallies, protesters were detained for a short time and then released.

An activist detained last week said he was forced to sign a statement acknowledging that he could face possible life imprisonment if he spoke out again.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.