Military Reinstates Executions In Myanmar

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Flash mob protest launch by PBYSC and alliance committee in Yangon

TWO MEN will be executed in Myanmar after the military junta rejected their death sentence appeals last Saturday, in what will be the first judicial executions in the country in decades.

‘It’s confirmed that Phyo Zayar Thaw and (Ko) Jimmy are on the execution list,’ junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told news media, without giving a date.
In January 2022, veteran democracy activist Ko Jimmy and former National League of Democracy lawmaker Phyo Zayar Thaw were sentenced to death, according to a statement by Myanmar’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services.
The junta accuses the two men of being ‘involved in terrorist acts such as explosion attacks and killing of civilians as informants,’ the junta spokesperson said.
It’s unclear whether Phyo Zayar Thaw and Ko Jimmy have denied the charges levied against them. Comments from the junta made no reference to their plea.
The United Nations (UN) said last Friday that it was ‘deeply troubled’ by the decision, calling it a ‘blatant violation to the right to life, liberty and security of the person,’ spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said in a briefing, referring to an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
She added: ‘The Secretary-General reiterates his calls for the respect of people’s rights to freedom of opinion and expression and also to drop all charges against those arrested on charges related to the exercise of their fundamental freedoms and rights.’
Amnesty International said news of the resumption of executions is ‘shocking’. The rights group called on authorities to ‘immediately’ drop the plan and for the international community to step up intervention efforts.
In a twitter post, Amnesty said: ‘The death sentence has become one of many appalling ways the Myanmar military is attempting to sow fear among anyone who opposes its rule, and would add to the grave human rights violations, including lethal violence targeted at peaceful protesters and other civilians.’
Amnesty added that since the February 2021 coup in Myanmar, the organisation has recorded an ‘alarming’ increase in the number of known death sentences in the country from at least one in 2020 to at least 86 in 2021.
An Amnesty post from 2021 said that the last judicial execution in Myanmar known to have taken place was in 1988.
There have been numerous death sentences in Myanmar since but they’ve usually been ‘commuted through mass pardons,’ Amnesty says.

  • The IUF global union federation has condemned ‘the illegitimate Myanmar military government’s lies’ about its participation in last week’s International Labour Conference.

‘The illegitimate Myanmar military regime has attempted to conceal the truth and mislead the people of Myanmar about its status at the International Labour Conference with a news release implying the regime’s participation through attendance at a Labour Ministers’ meeting of non-aligned members held in conjunction with the conference proceedings.
‘The military junta’s brutal repression of freedom of speech, censorship and arrests of independent journalists allow the military’s State Administration Council (SAC) to propagate such lies through state-controlled media.
‘Here is the truth about the status of Myanmar at the ILO (International Labour Organisation):

  • For the second year in a row, the ILO has rejected the credentials of the Myanmar military government; on June 2nd, the Credentials Committee of the International Labour Conference (ILC) decided that “no delegates for Myanmar would be accredited at the 2022 ILC;”

  • The committee further noted that ‘no invitations have been extended to Myanmar to attend any ILO meetings since the decision of the 2021 ILC to refuse accreditation;

  • The committee also noted the ILO Governing Body “deplored the lack of progress towards respecting the will of the people, democratic institutions and processes” and takes note of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council which condemned the military coup and “called on the Myanmar armed forces to end the declaration of martial law and return to the democratic transition in Myanmar and end all obstruction to the democratic process in Myanmar”;

‘The IUF (global union federation) endorses the resolution of the Human Rights Council and calls for the continued exclusion of the Myanmar government from UN institutions until democracy prevails and democratic rights are upheld.’
IUF General Secretary Sue Longley stated: ‘The IUF stands in solidarity with all workers and their unions suffering from extreme rights violations at the hands of the armed forces. We mourn those who have lost their lives and call for the release of those imprisoned for defending their rights.’
On June 1st, at the International Labour Conference, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions joined with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and the Indonesian Workers Welfare Union (KSBSI) to express their solidarity and support for the people and workers of Myanmar in a case before the ILO’s supervisory mechanism – the Committee on the Application of Standards.
The ILO Committee of Experts notes: ‘Freedom of association can only be exercised in conditions in which fundamental human rights are fully respected and guaranteed’.
David Joyce, the Worker Delegate from Ireland at the conference added: ‘It is clear that since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, fundamental rights and civil liberties have been under attack.
‘Our joint statement with the Australian and Indonesian unions is a symbol of the worldwide trade union solidarity for the people of Myanmar. Attacks on workers and civilians and the violations of human rights must cease immediately.
‘The international community must hold the SAC (the military junta’s ruling body) accountable for the gross violations of human rights, including the right to freedom of association; enact sanctions and cease the flow of arms to Myanmar to stop the atrocities, and recognise the National Unity Government as the official and legitimate Government of Myanmar.’
Joyce told conference: ‘I am speaking on behalf of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and KSBSI Indonesia.
‘As the Committee of Experts notes, “freedom of association can only be exercised in conditions in which fundamental human rights are fully respected and guaranteed”. It is clear that since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, fundamental rights and civil liberties have been under attack:

  • As of today, the military junta has killed 1,876 people since the start of the coup.

‘It has arrested, charged or sentenced 10,847 people for participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement, which has been going on for over a year, despite the repression.
‘And at least 1,979 charged workers, trade unionists, activists and protesters have been forced into hiding since the coup.

  • The crimes against humanity committed by the military include murders, persecutions, imprisonments, sexual violence, enforced disappearance and torture.

‘They are systematic and may qualify as war crimes.

  • Since November 2021, the military has intensified airstrikes and ground attacks in regions where the CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement) protesters, workers, and trade union activists are taking refuge to avoid arrest.

‘UN agencies have confirmed that the military deploys heavy artillery, tanks, helicopters, jet fighters and surveillance drones in ground attacks and airstrikes to indiscriminately kill civilians, as well as to shell and destroy civilian villages, churches and refugee camps.

  • The military have occupied public hospitals, attacked healthcare workers, damaged, raided and confiscated medical equipment, drugs and oxygen cylinders.

‘More and more healthcare staff have gone into hiding as the military has revoked the license of doctors and health workers who have joined the CDM, and cancelled the business license of the clinics and hospitals they work in.

  • The military have attacked freedom of expression and attempted to restrict access to information by cutting access to mobile data at night and ordering internet service providers to suspend wireless broadband services, leaving intermittent fixed line connection as the only avenue to access the internet.

‘Freedom of the press is non-existent, following the cancellation of five independent media licenses on 8th March 2021, and the outlawing of organisations documenting the military’s atrocities such as the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma for supposedly inciting public panic, riots and harming state stability.
‘The junta has killed at least three journalists and imprisoned 26 journalists since the coup.
‘These are just a few examples of the violations of civil liberties perpetrated by the military authorities, that show the SAC’s complete disregard for human and labour rights.
‘Attacks on workers and civilians and the violations of human rights must cease immediately. The international community must hold the SAC accountable for the gross violations of human rights, including the right to freedom of association; enact sanctions and cease the flow of arms to Myanmar to stop the atrocities; and recognise the National Unity Government as the official and legitimate Government of Myanmar.’