HONOLULU - SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton called on Thursday for an international probe of human rights violations in Myanmar, the most explicit US backing for the idea long sought by human rights activists.

Mrs Clinton's call comes as the United States, which has been0 engaging the military-led regime, voices growing concern that Nov 7 elections will be unfair.

'I would like to underscore the United States' commitment to seek accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred in Burma by working to establish an international Commission of Inquiry through close consultations with our friends, allies and other partners at the United Nations,' Mrs Clinton said in a speech in Hawaii.

Human rights groups say that Myanmar, also known as Burma, has one of the world's worst human rights records, with the regime detaining thousands of opponents, systematically destroying ethnic minority villages and using rape as a weapon of war.

Several other countries including Australia and Britain have also supported a UN commission on inquiry on Myanmar, which could eventually bring criminal charges against the junta's leaders.

A senior official in President Barack Obama's administration said in August on condition of anonymity that the United States would support a probe. But some analysts had believed the United States would hold off on more overt support for an investigation until after the election as it tries to preserve dialogue at a time of potential transition in Myanmar.

Clinton backs Myanmar probe