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‘Absolute Savagery’

Philippine solidarity groups denounce Myanmar junta’s execution of four democracy activists

Statement by the Burma Solidarity Philippines (BSP) on military junta’s execution of activists in Myanmar
July 29, 2022

We, members of various civil society and solidarity organizations belonging to the Burma Solidarity Philippines (BSP) coalition, today join the world and the international community in strongly condemning the illegitimate military rulers of Myanmar for its ‘barbaric’ execution of four pro-democracy activists and extend our deepest condolences to their families and heartfelt solidarity to the peoples of Burma/Myanmar in their continuing quest for genuine democracy, peace, and social justice.

The international community, particularly the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), must hold the junta accountable for its casual disregard for human life and for its continuing violation of human rights as part of its crackdown on dissent after illegally seizing state power from the democratically elected civilian government in February 2021.

Among the four who were sentenced to death after series of secretive military trials were democracy campaigner Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, an ally of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw. All 4 were accused by the junta of aiding ‘terror acts’ which reportedly stemmed from helping the protest movement sparked by last year's military coup and bloody crackdown on nationwide protests.

Solidarity movements like the Burma Solidarity Philippines (BSP), have been calling out the ASEAN to swiftly act to de-escalate the political crisis which has now become a full-blown human rights crisis, and ‘to save the peoples of Myanmar’ from the onslaught of its errant member Myanmar under its coup rulers.

The military junta in June announced that it will resume executing prisoners with 113 more who have been sentenced to death, although 41 of those were convicted in absentia, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-governmental organization that tracks killing and arrests of activists in Myanmar. At the same time, 2,120 civilians have been killed by security forces since the military takeover according to AAPP.

The execution of the 4 martyr-activists in Myanmar is a clear indication that the military rulers of Myanmar have zero intent to heed international appeals to even try to implement the five-point consensus it has committed to achieve with the ASEAN last year calling for dialogue among all concerned parties, provision of humanitarian assistance, an immediate cessation of violence and a visit by a special envoy to meet all parties.

The execution is just another proof of the junta’s absolute savagery in ruling the country and the people through lies, impunity and massive human rights violations. The international community, including the ASEAN, must instead ensure that the junta will not be accorded any semblance of legitimacy.

Certainly, the execution of activists is a death sentence to democracy in Myanmar and may derail any attempts to peacefully resolve the crisis but we hope that this would serve as an eye-opener for those who have been treating the junta with kid gloves. Another dialogue initiative, without a clear framework for exacting accountability from the military rulers will only mean condoning and becoming complicit of the junta’s murderous actions.

We call on the ASEAN and the international community to help in amplifying the demands of the peoples of Myanmar for the immediate return to democracy, investigation of crimes against humanity, release of all political prisoners and those who were tortured and illegally detained, and protection to human rights by applying more pressure to the junta.

Today, the Burma Solidarity Philippines stands united with the peoples of Burma/Myanmar.