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Myanmar defends its human rights record against U.S. attacks

Myanmar defends its human rights record against U.S. attacks

Myanmar's military junta defended its human rights record Saturday against attacks from the United States, insisting it was part of larger plan by opponents to "tarnish" the regime's image.
In its annual global survey of human rights practices released Tuesday, the United States said Myanmar's human rights record had worsened in the past year. It accused the regime of stepping up arrests of political opponents and the army of increased attacks on ethnic minorities.
Myanmar's Foreign Ministry, in a statement carried in the state-run New Light of Myanmar, called the charges baseless.
"As in the past, the report once again carried a litany of unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of human rights violations in Myanmar," the Foreign Ministry said.
"Considering the tone and tenor of the report, the source of these fabricated allegations must have emanated from the remaining insurgent group and anti-government elements, which are launching a systematic disinformation campaign by exploiting every sensitive issue to smear and tarnish the image of the Myanmar government," it said.
The ministry also accused the United States of ignoring the positive steps it had taken, including improving the social and economic welfare of the citizens in the country including "improving living standards."
The United States and other Western nations maintain political and economic sanctions against Myanmar because of the junta's poor human rights record and failure to hand over power to a democratically elected government.
The junta, which seized power in 1988, held a general election in 1990 but refused to honor the results after a landslide victory by the National League for Democracy party headed by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest.
Myanmar remains one of Asia's poorest and most isolated countries.