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Activists slam Myanmar leader's visit to Britain

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 00:48

July 15 - Activists protest outside British parliament to warn David Cameron against Myanmar becoming another Rwanda as PM welcomes Myanmar President. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Myanmar President Thein Sein, the first leader of his country to visit Britain in more than 25 years, held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, as activists held a demonstration against Myanmar's human rights record. Sein is in London to talk trade, aid and democracy with Cameron and his ministers during a two-day visit at a time when Myanmar is opening up its oil, gas and telecoms sectors to foreign investors, with further liberalisation likely. Cameron was under pressure to confront Sein over the treatment of Myanmar's Muslim minority, but faced a tricky balancing act since he has made it clear he wants to expand Britain's trade links with emerging economies such as Myanmar. Sein, a former military commander, is trying to get the West to help Myanmar's economy recover from decades of military dictatorship, Soviet-style planning and international sanctions. Western leaders have praised him for ending the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, releasing some political prisoners, and allowing the opposition to fight an election. About 30 activists from the global campaign group Avaaz protested outside the British parliament with a banner reading: "Cameron - Don't let Burma become the next Rwanda", a reference to the 1994 genocide when hundreds of thousands were killed. At least 237 people have been killed in Myanmar in religious violence over the past year and about 150,000 people have been displaced. Most of the victims were Muslim and the deadliest incidents happened in Rakhine State, where about 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live, according to the United Nations. Avaaz Campaign Communications Sam Barratt told Reuters Television that there were unmistakable comparisons with Rwanda on the eve of the 1994 genocide in which Hutu soldiers and militiamen slaughtered around 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, in the span of 100 days. "We saw what happened in Rwanda and that's why we raised the alarm bell now. There are so many parallels with the history of this, there are so many parallels with the way the media is being used, and also the Burmese government is doing nothing to quash that. And we're very worried now that unless action is taken and the alarm bell is rung, we could see another Rwanda in Burma," he said.

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Activists slam Myanmar leader's visit to Britain

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 00:48