Philippine women’s group Gabriela, a grassroots-based alliance, condemned the execution of four pro-democracy activists in Myanmar late last month.
Myanmar’s military junta executed the political prisoners — Phyo Zeya Thaw, former lawmaker for the National League for Democracy; prominent activist Kyaw Min Yu, widely known as ‘Ko Jimmy;’ Aung Thura Zaw; and Hla Myo Aung — who were all charged under the country’s anti-terrorism laws.
The first judicial executions in Myanmar since 1988 came despite a direct appeal on June 11 by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to junta leader Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. Hun Sen acted in his role as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member.
The death sentences are the first known judicial executions in Myanmar since 1988, according to Amnesty International.
“This latest reprehensible act by Myanmar’s military government brings to mind the same fascism suffered by the Filipino people from its own government,” read a statement from Gabriela released on Friday, August 5.
The women’s group said there is a “prevailing de-facto military rule” in the Philippines since the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, “and continued by the reigning (Ferdinand) Marcos administration.”
Gabriela accused the Philippines government of “re-orienting the civilian bureaucracy toward “militaristic aims” that resulted in “grave abuse of power and massive violations of basic rights and freedoms.”
“State terror continues to wreak havoc in the country of Myanmar and across the globe,” noted Gabriela, adding that aside from official executions, Myanmar’s armed forces have also been accused of thousands of extrajudicial killings and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters.
“Meanwhile, the root causes of the conflict in the country remains unresolved,” said the women’s group. “More than half of the population are now living in poverty, while state institutions and infrastructures are in a state of ruins; thereby denying millions of Burmese access to health care, education, food, and other basic goods and services,” it added.
“We stand in full solidarity with the peoples of Myanmar and all the peoples of the world in seeking social justice and true democracy,” read the Gabriela statement.