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Crackdown continues even Bush announce sanctions

US President George Bush on Friday announced additional strong sanctions against the leaders of the Burmese junta and their business cronies while warning that more sanctions would be applied if the military regime fails to make progress in moving toward democracy.Troops raided a house in Tamwe Township in Rangoon early Friday morning, arresting five people who are connected to the 88 Generation Students’ group.
Soe Tun, a spokesperson of the 88 Generation Students group, told The Irrawaddy on Saturday that recent raids and arrests have sometimes involved the arrests of an activist's family members who are taken hostage in exchange for the activist who is in hiding.current state of affairs, Soe Tun said, “The junta appointed a liaison officer to mediate a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, but the generals are still going forward with their road map to democracy. It is not a positive sign. If they want dialogue, first they must stop crackdowns and arrests and release political prisoners. At the least, the junta should allow the ICRC (the International Committee of the Red Cross) to meet with political prisoners.”

Pokpong Lawansiri, the Southeast Asia program officer with the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, said the continuing crackdown shows the military junta does not care about the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council or the calls for dialogue by the international community.

“It also means the international community, particularly Burma’s neighboring countries, do not work hard enough for the Burmese people,” he said. “The Asean reaction was very weak. The Asean countries need to take more concrete actions critical of the junta.”

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