An international coalition of representatives from the world’s religions assured the people of Myanmar of solidarity in the wake of executions of activists in the southeast Asian country.
“We lament, alongside you, the executions which are taking place, at a time when more and more countries take steps to abolish the death penalty,” read a “Letter to Myanmar” from Religions for Peace.
The group, which was established in 1970, is dedicated to promoting peace. It has its headquarters in New York and with regional conferences in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and the Americas.
In the letter sent to Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon on August 6, the group said it continues to follow the “trajectories of survival” of the people in Myanmar.
It said the resumption of executions after more than three decades “is contrary to the goal of abolition enshrined under international human rights law and standards.”
Myanmar’s military junta executed last month four 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 death sentences are the first known judicial executions in Myanmar since 1988, according to Amnesty International.
“We pray that the souls of those executed rest in peace, and we pray for their families and loved ones,” read the letter signed by Azza Karam, secretary general of Religions for Peace.
The group lauded the people of Myanmar for their “endurance as a community of believers, devoted to one another” and the “timeless, historic and beautiful nation,” which is “a testament to the power of your faiths, and to the courage and moral dignity of your combined cultures.”
“Your ability to not only face fearlessly, but to overcome powerfully, multiple hurdles in the journey of your nation, is humbling,” added the letter.
“Your individual and collective commitment towards human rights, democracy and reconciliation, serve as a feat of endurance in this century, and as a testament to the power of human spirit, for so many, in your region, and around the world,” it said.
“We stand alongside you in prayerful solidarity and in the compassion of the Divine,” read the message.