UPDATE 1-Italy's Benetton Group suspends new orders from Myanmar suppliers

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ROME, March 12 (Reuters) - Italy’s Benetton Group on Friday said it had immediately suspended all new orders from its suppliers in Myanmar due to concerns over rising violence in the Southeast Asian nation after the ousting of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government last month.

Myanamar accounts for 2% of Benetton’s suppliers, according to the Italian group’s website.

“We express our most profound concern for what is happening in Myanmar,” the high-street clothing group said in a statement.

“The situation presents such problems, both in terms of security and of freedom and rights violations, that we have decided to suspend all new orders.”

Myanmar activists held more rallies against the country’s junta on Friday, a day after a rights group said security forces killed 12 protesters.

More than 70 protesters have been killed since the coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group said.

Benetton said its move intends to give a “strong and tangible signal” in supporting values such as integration and non-violence.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said it was shocked by the use of deadly force against protesters in Myanmar and that it had paused placing orders in the country. (Reporting by Giulia Segreti in Rome and Elisa Anzolin in Milan; Editing by Valentina Za and Paul Simao)