26 July 2022
Anti-Death Penalty and Human Rights organisations outraged by the execution of human rights defenders by the Myanmar Military Junta
The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN), Capital Punishment Justice Project, (CPJP), Eleos Justice, Monash University, LBH Masyarakat, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET), Odhikhar, Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) and Transformative Justice Collective condemn the executions of TMP Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former member of Parliament from Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party and a hip-hop artist who was previously detained over his lyrics; Kyaw Min Yu, a prominent democracy activist; and Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, who were accused of being informants for the military Government in Yangon.
We echo the condemnation issued by the UN Special Rapporteurs immediately following these executions by the Myanmar junta and assail the violations to the rights to due process and the rule of law in these cases. In January this year, the four political prisoners stood trial before a closed-door military tribunal. It has been reported that they were denied legal representation and the right to appeal. These are clear breaches of fair trial guarantees enshrined in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It has also been reported that prison officials have so far refused to return the bodies of those executed to their families.
Since the military coup began in February 2021, Myanmar junta has issued 117 death sentences, including two sentences imposed on children. This is accompanied by a growing prevalence of extrajudicial killings involving protestors and pro-democracy activists, with the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners estimating that more than 2,100 people have been killed since the coup in February 2021. In addition to violence resulting directly from the coup, the military junta has resumed its military campaigns across Myanmar, leading to large-scale killings, arbitrary detentions and forced displacement of civilians in several states.
We call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Myanmar is a member, and on the wider international community, to strongly condemn this action. We also call on our Governments to impose sanctions on high profile military generals connected with human rights abuses in Myanmar, and to continue advocating on behalf of those at risk of execution in Myanmar. Strong diplomacy and accountability measures must be carried out by the international community on the Tatmadaw, who have no legitimacy as Government of Myanmar.
Our heart goes out to the families, friends and loved ones of the individuals executed.