26 July 2022
The Socialist International unequivocally condemns the execution of four pro-democracy activists by the military junta in Myanmar.
Kyaw Min Yu, known as Ko Jimmy, a veteran activist of the pro-democracy movement who had regularly been jailed for protesting against the regime since the 1998 student uprisings; Phyo Zeya Thaw, well-known for bringing hip-hop music to the country, who had joined the National League for Democracy and worked closely with its leader Aung San Suu Kyi; as well as Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura, were all charged with alleged terrorism offences for which they were executed.
The use of the death penalty is abhorrent and can never be accepted. In this case, the use of capital punishment represents the brutal and systematic aggression of a murderous regime. The death penalty has not been carried out since the late 1980s in Myanmar and this act is a deeply distressing step in the military junta’s crackdown on those seeking democracy, freedom and human rights. The military in Myanmar have judged civilians in closed trials since they declared Martial Law in March 2021. The Socialist International remains deeply concerned for the lives and welfare of the 117 prisoners that are now reported to be on death row since the coup took place in February 2021, which includes 2 children. The UN reports that more than 30 percent of over 2,100 people killed since February 2021 have died in military custody.
The Socialist International has frequently spoken out against the ongoing repression in Myanmar, and now calls again, urgently, for the international community to condemn, and hold to account, the military junta for perpetrating these crimes. The SI calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Myanmar and the protection of the fundamental human rights of all those seeking peace and democracy in the country. Today it is urgent to put an end to the aggression and killings, respect human lives and open a path towards a just democratic system of governance.
The SI further urges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take strong action, especially in light of its Five-Point consensus peace plan which has now been violated by these executions.
The Socialist International has maintained a longstanding campaign against the death penalty and will not cease to call for its total abolishment worldwide.