"Rather than stop its unlawful arrests the Myanmar government has actually accelerated them," the group said in a statement.

 

On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and the US meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called for increased international pressure on Myanmar's ruling generals to respect their people's basic rights.

 

"We must convince the Burmese regime to meet the demands of the international community and respect the basic rights of Burma's people," David Miliband, Bernard Kouchner and Condoleezza Rice said in a joint statement.

 

'Need for progress'

 

They said there was an "urgent need for progress toward a transition to democracy and improved human rights in Burma", as the country is also known.

 

Last September Myanmar's military rulers launched a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests after weeks of mass demonstrations sparked by a sudden increase in fuel prices.

 

The violence drew worldwide condemnation and in November Ibrahim Gambari, the UN secretary general's special representative to Myanmar, travelled to the country to call for reforms and a dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's opposition leader, and the military.

 

But instead of keeping its word to Gambari to stop the arrests, the government continued its crackdown on dissidents, Amnesty said.

 

The rights group says that at least 700 people arrested as a result of the protests remain in prison, while another 1,150 political prisoners held prior to that have yet to be released.

 

It added that more than 80 others remain unaccounted for since September.