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Christian Freedom International Presents 2008 Freedom Award to First Lady Laura Bush

Contact: Jim Jacobson, Christian Freedom International (CFI), 800-323-2273

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., Dec. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- Christian Freedom International (CFI), a Michigan-based relief organization, has presented its 2008 Freedom Award to U.S. First Lady Laura Bush in recognition of her ongoing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Burma.

In recent years, Mrs. Bush has become an outspoken advocate for the hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees who have greatly suffered as a result of the country's unending civil war. For nearly 60 years, Burma's military government has enforced a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against many of its own citizens, particularly the Karen, which has included the use of rape, murder, forced conscription into the Burmese army, human trafficking, and widespread destruction of homes and crops. Even as thousands of Burma's citizens continue to hide in the mountains or jungles, or live out meager existences in refugee camps, the crisis remains as one of the least known tragic events in the worldwide community.

Mrs. Bush has consistently called on the Burmese government to end the violence that has torn the nation apart for over five decades, and has also called for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's democratic leader who has been under house arrest since 1989. In an effort to raise international awareness, Mrs. Bush hosted the Dialogue on Burma during the U.N. General Assembly in September 2006, a conference in which CFI President Jim Jacobson was an invited participant. In August 2008, Mrs. Bush traveled to Thailand and toured the Mae La refugee camp before leaving behind crates of donated supplies, including thousands of mosquito nets.

CFI has worked extensively in Burma since 1998, delivering food, medicine, Bibles and other humanitarian aid to thousands of Karen and Karenni refugees. CFI also operates several schools, orphanages, and hospitals in the region, and provides microenterprise support to artisans who generate income for themselves through the sale of their handcrafted products in the United States. CFI has also worked with Ellen Sauerbrey, Assistant Secretary of State and the 2007 recipient of the CFI Freedom Award, to facilitate the resettlement effort that allows Burma's refugees to seek asylum in the United States.

To view the video of First Lady Laura Bush or for more information about refugee resettlement, or CFI's humanitarian work in Burma, visit www.christianfreedom.org.