UN says Myanmar military uses death penalty to ‘crush’ opposition

UN rights chief Volker Turk said more than 130 opponents of Myanmar’s military regime have been sentenced to death.

Myanmar’s military government is using the death penalty as a tool to crush opposition to its rule and has sentenced more than 130 opponents of the regime to death since February 2021, a senior United Nations official said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said Friday that at least seven university students were sentenced to death behind closed doors on Wednesday, and there are reports that four other youth activists were also sentenced on Thursday.

Turk called for all executions to be suspended and called on Myanmar’s military rulers to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

“The military continues to conduct proceedings in secret courts, which violate basic principles of due process and fundamental judicial guarantees of independence and impartiality,” he said in a statement.

The military had also shown contempt for regional and international peace efforts “by resorting to death sentences as a political tool to crush opposition,” the UN chief said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said Myanmar’s military-installed government has sentenced more critics to death, bringing the total to 139 [File: Marwan Ali/AP Photo]

The Students’ Union of Dagon University in Yangon – the country’s largest city – announced on Thursday that seven university students between the ages of 18 and 24 who were arrested on April 21 were sentenced to death by a military court at Insein Prison on Wednesday. Yangon. .

An executive member of the Dagon University Students’ Union told The Associated Press that the seven were charged with ties to an urban armed movement opposed to military rule and were convicted of murder for allegedly taking part in the April shooting of a bank branch manager.

About 2,000 people have also been killed since the military seized power and toppled the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, said Duwa Lashi La, the head of a parallel civilian government set up in opposition to the military regime.

Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG), which is made up of the remnants of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and others, told Reuters on Thursday that the death toll was high but that it was “the price ” used to be. we have to pay” to resist the army.

The crushing of peaceful protests against military rule has now fueled a popular armed resistance movement, which in turn has led to increased military repression, particularly in rural areas.

In late July, the military hanged four political activists in the country’s first executions in at least 30 years.

The hangings drew condemnation from Western nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has attempted to defuse the crisis with a five-point peace plan that the military government has failed to implement.

While Western countries have shown support for the NGG and imposed sanctions on military commanders and companies, they have stopped providing military aid to the opposition and say ASEAN is best placed to resolve the crisis peacefully.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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