Birkin urges Brazil to address Myanmar crisis


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- British actress-filmmaker Jane Birkin on Monday urged the Brazilian government to show support in demanding an end to the recent violence and killings in Myanmar.

Visiting the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival to present her feature film directorial debut "Boxes," Birkin held a news conference to talk about the situation in the Southeast Asian country, where anti-government protests have led to the arrests of hundreds of Buddhist monks and numerous killings.

"It was difficult for me to come with a little private film and not talk about (the Myanmar crisis)," she said.

Birkin will be cutting short her visit here to meet this week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and discuss a diplomatic approach to the situation.

Birkin is a supporter of Myanmar's Buddhist monks, who are challenging the legitimacy of the country's ruling military junta. She also is a close friend of pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held under house arrest for 12 years.

Acharya Lobsang Chogni, the highest-ranking Buddhist monk in Latin America, joined Birkin on Monday, reading a statement from Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

"I wish to convey my sincere appreciation and admiration to the large number of fellow Buddhist monks for advocating democracy and freedom in (Myanmar)," the Dalai Lama said.

"Boxes,"' which screened in the official selection at the Festival de Cannes, will screen today at the at the Rio festival, which runs through Thursday.