The human rights organization Amnesty International called on Burma Tuesday to halt its repression of ethnic minority activists before upcoming local and national elections.
In a 58-page report, The Repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar the group drew on accounts from more than 700 activists from the seven largest ethnic minorities, including the Rakhine, Shan, Kachin and Chin, covering a two-year period from August of 2007.
Amnesty International says authorities have arrested, imprisoned, and in some cases tortured or killed ethnic minority activists. The report says minority groups have also faced extensive surveillance, harassment and discrimination when trying to carry out legitimate activities.
The group urged Burma to lift restrictions on freedom of association, assembly and religion and to release all political prisoners and remove restrictions on media to cover campaigning and the election process.
This year, Burma says it will hold its first national and local elections in two decades.
The military government ignored results of 1990 elections, in which the opposition National League of Democracy and a coalition of ethnic minorities won in a landslide.
Burma's most prominent human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the NLD had been under detention for 14 of the last 20 years.