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HRW Urges Donors to Ensure Burma's Rulers Do Not Divert Cyclone Aid

Human Rights Watch is urging international donors to ensure that Burma's military rulers do not divert humanitarian aid intended for victims of Cyclone Nargis.

The U.S.-based rights group said Wednesday that aid efforts in Burma should be monitored by an independent body co-managed by donors and the United Nations. It says such a body would boost the transparency and accountability of the aid process.

The group says that since the cyclone struck in May, Burmese leaders have restricted travel by foreign aid workers and arrested some locals involved in relief efforts.

Human Rights Watch says international donors should pressure Burma to adhere to basic principles on the provision of aid.

World Health Organization official, Richard Garfield, who recently visited Burma has said that Burma's government is providing more help to cyclone victims than he previously thought.

Cyclone Nargis left almost 140,000 people dead or missing when it tore through Burma's Irrawaddy Delta region on May 3.

The United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations said Monday that Burma needs more than $1 billion in aid over the next three years to recover.