Institute queries Thai silence on Myanmar hanging democracy activists
The Pridi Banomyong Institute on Tuesday condemned the hanging of four pro-democracy activists by the Myanmar junta, saying the executions would provoke more violence in the civil war-torn neighbouring country.
Despite international pleas for clemency, the junta hanged a former National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker, a democracy activist and two men accused of violence.
The state-run Mirror Daily gave details of the executions on Monday, the first in Myanmar for nearly 50 years. The announcement drew international condemnation.
Put to death were Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker in ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party, Kyaw Min Yu, a 53-year-old democracy activist better known as Ko Jimmy, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.
No condemnation came from the Thai government led by Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Prayut, a former Army chief, is known to have cosy ties with the Myanmar junta.
Assoc Prof Dr Anusorn Thamchai, president of the institute, said he was dismayed at news of the executions.
“I am saddened by inhumane actions of the Myanmar junta that executed pro-democracy political prisoners despite strong objections from the international community and international civil organisations,” Anusorn said.
He said the Myanmar junta also ignored pleas from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as chairman of Asean.
“So, there is no need to respect the feelings of this oppressive Myanmar regime,” Anusorn said.
He added that the Myanmar junta had even ignored pleas from its ally, China, for an alternative solution to executions.
Meanwhile, Anusorn called on the Thai armed forces to better protect the country’s sovereignty after repeated violations of Thailand’s airspace by Myanmar forces cracking down on Karen rebels along the border.
He also urged the Thai government to show the international community and Asean community that Thailand supports a peaceful and political solution to the civil war in Myanmar.
Anusorn added that Prayut’s government must call on the Myanmar junta to return democracy to its people and also provide shelter and protection for political asylum seekers from Myanmar.
He said the four “democracy heroes” were executed in a barbaric fashion without receiving transparent trials in accordance with their rights and rule of law.
“Pridi Banomyong Institute hereby condemns the executions as acts that will provoke escalation in the civil war,” Anusorn said.
“These inhumane acts will increase pressure on the military dictatorship. The executions ruled out hope of talks for peaceful solutions and the return of democracy to Myanmar.”
He said executing political opponents had no place in the 21st century and was a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
He said the four “democracy heroes” had not died in vain as their deaths would inspire others in the fights for human rights and democracy in Asean and around the world.