Myanmar Executions Reprehensible, says ASEAN

Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Photo: AFP

PHNOM PENH – ASEAN has joined an international chorus of condemnation of the execution of four pro-democracy and opposition leaders by Myanmar’s military junta.

A statement by Cambodia, as current Chair of ASEAN, called the executions reprehensible and said the bloc was extremely troubled and deeply saddened.

The European Union, and the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States also condemned the executions.

Those executed were democracy campaigner Kyaw Min Yu, known as Jimmy, former MP Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw. The regime accused them of terror offences.

The executions took place despite pleas for clemency by ASEAN Special Envoy Prak Sokhonn during visits to the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw.

"This is an issue that ASEAN takes seriously," the statement said.

"We urge the regime to release all those unjustly detained, grant full and independent access to prisons and fulfill its obligations under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Five-Point Consensus to seek peace through dialogue, not further violence."

Implementation of the death sentences just a week before the 55" ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was highly reprehensible, it said.

It created a setback to and presented a gross lack of will to support the efforts, particularly by the ASEAN Chair, in expediting progress on the implementation the Five-Point Consensus namely in building trust and confidence to engender a dialogue among all parties concerned to end violence and alleviate the suffering of the innocent people.

ASEAN said it remained committed to the principles of the ASEAN Charter and the mandate of the Five-Point Consensus.

“Cambodia , as the ASEAN Chair, wishes to echo the overwhelming voices within ASEAN and the international community in urging the authorities in Naypyitaw to take concrete actions to effectively and fully implement the Five-Point Consensus,” the statement said.

"We strongly and urgently call on all parties concerned to desist taking actions that would only further aggravate the crisis, hinder peaceful dialogue among all parties concerned, and endanger peace, security and stability, not only in Myanmar, but the whole region.

“ASEAN remains resolved to assist Myanmar's return to normalcy and democratic transition and to find a peaceful political solution to the current crisis through inclusive dialogue that is Myanmar-led and Myanmar-owned, in line with the Five-Point Consensus and the ASEAN Charter.

“This is urgently needed to prevent further loss of lives and end the suffering of the people of Myanmar.”

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