International IDEA condemns Myanmar executions of political prisoners – and calls for action to restore Myanmar people’s right to freedom and dignity
International IDEA condemns in the strongest possible terms the extra-legal executions of four democracy defenders in Myanmar, which mark yet another shocking escalation of the violence perpetrated by the military junta. International IDEA associates itself with the wide condemnation of these executions by the international community and the Myanmar national organizations, including the National Unity Government (NUG).
The people of Myanmar will remember Kyaw Min Yu, known as Ko Jimmy, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, who were reportedly executed on 25 July 2022 by Myanmar’s military junta, as champions of their struggle for self-determination and democratic governance. The military junta’s threats to carry out additional executions of political prisoners have no legal basis or justification and only have the clear intent of spreading terror and intimidation.
The junta continues to abuse the fragile and discredited justice system in Myanmar to demonstrate its impunity and persecute the legitimate representatives of the people and anyone standing up against it. The recent ‘conviction’ of the Chairman of the legitimate Union Election Commission, U Hla Thein, and other Election Commission’s members on the pretext of entirely implausible accusations of electoral fraud is equally deplorable and a clear case of injustice.
The targeted threats issued by the junta on 27 July 2022 against members of the legitimate NUG in a cynical and absurd announcement turn justice on its head, given the military’s illegal and unconstitutional seizure of power in Myanmar. It is also a clear demonstration of the military’s unwillingness to honour its commitments made towards ASEAN and other international partners. Since the illegal coup in Myanmar in February 2021, the junta has killed at least 734 political prisoners according to Burma’s Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP). Altogether, an estimated 15,000 people have been killed by the junta since the coup and around a million people have been displaced.
International IDEA’s Secretary-General Kevin Casas-Zamora warned that the world should not lose focus on Myanmar but should take this escalation as a moment to redouble efforts to end the untenable situation in Myanmar with urgency. No normalisation can be expected under the current military regime, and no elections organized by the junta will have any credibility or contribute to a solution of the crisis.
“While the world's eyes are focused elsewhere, Myanmar's tragedy continues to unfold. We owe the people in Myanmar at least this—not to let their plight and their struggle for democracy and dignity go unnoticed. We at International IDEA will continue to do everything in our power to support them,” he said.
International IDEA calls on the global community to work towards the fulfillment of the 2021 resolution of the UN General Assembly, supported by 119 countries, that called upon the Myanmar armed forces “to respect the will of the people as freely expressed by the results of the general election of 8 November 2020, to end the state of emergency, to respect all human rights of all the people of Myanmar and to allow the sustained democratic transition of Myanmar, including the opening of the democratically elected parliament and by working towards bringing all national institutions, including the armed forces, under a fully inclusive civilian Government that is representative of the will of the people.”
International IDEA welcomes the increasing willingness of the international community to engage with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the NUG and the National Unity Consultative Council and encourages others to fully support their efforts to restore democracy on the basis of the principles established in Myanmar’s Federal Democracy Charter. The future of Myanmar can only be determined by the legitimate representatives of the people and the international community must respect that will as guaranteed in the UN Charter.