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Transparency International strongly condemns continuing rights abuses by corrupt Burmese government

Anti-corruption campaigners point to strong causal link between corruption and massive human rights abuses

Bali, 31 October 2007 – The United Nations Security Council as well as Burma’s neighbours, must increase pressure on the Burmese government to end massive human rights abuses and crack down on endemic corruption, said the global members of Transparency International (TI) in a statement issued at the leading anti-corruption organisation’s annual meeting in Indonesia.

In a strongly worded document, anti-corruption campaigners from over seventy countries expressed their outrage at the continued violent repression of civil society, endemic corruption and the systematic denial of basic rights, such as the right to free assembly – a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“As corruption fighters we are of course appalled at the endemic corruption sapping the life blood of the Burmese people and perpetuating human rights abuses,” said Transparency International Chair, Huguette Labelle, “But as human beings, we are deeply and personally affected by the plight of the people of Burma, including the Burmese monks who were so brutally denied the right to peaceful protest.”

The statement also pointed to Burma’s last place in the 2007 TI Corruption Perceptions Index (179th place out of 180 countries and territories) as proof of the seriousness of the country’s corruption problem. But when it comes to the strong correlation between corruption and human rights abuses, Burma is not alone, many other countries, including Somalia, Iraq, Uzbekistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela exhibit astronomical levels of perceived corruption and serious human rights issues.

The statement called on the regional and global community to increase pressure on the regime as well as on the private sector to cease directly or indirectly supporting the Burmese military junta.