Expert fears 'floodgates' open in Myanmar after executions


"With these horrific atrocities that the junta has carried out, there can be no business as usual with this regime."

The execution of four democracy activists - “Jimmy” Kyaw Min Yu, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw - by Myanmar’s military junta has received widespread international condemnation.

The United States said Monday (July 25) that all options were on the table as it considered its response.

The four men were sentenced to death in closed-door trials in January and April.

They were accused of carrying out “terror acts” against the army that seized power in a coup last year which unleashed a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

Self-exiled journalist Aung Naing Soe says the international community needs to take action.

“Many people are, how to say, frustrated with, frustrated on the action of the international community. It's just words, you know, it's like, oh we will do this, we worry, we did that, blah, blah, blah, you know. It's nothing in action, you know? If there's anything in action, such kind of executions would not happen."

Amnesty International’s Chiara, Sangiorgio said the executions were an “enormous setback” and called for increased efforts to put accountability mechanisms in place.

"We have seen again and again, through the developments and the appalling human rights record of the military authorities in Myanmar since February 2021, that the more space they're left with, the more they tend to escalate. And the death penalty, with more than 100 death sentences being imposed by military tribunals in deeply unfair proceedings, is a clear example of what they're capable of and the fact that they're not going to stop there."

Tom Andrews is the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

“I am afraid that even more floodgates are now opening and that there is even more to be of less, less restraint on the part of the junta to continue its attacks on the people of Myanmar and to try to instill fear, even more fear, in the population.”

Andrews says that with 140 people on death row the executions – Myanmar's first in decades – indicates that the junta intends to carry out those sentences.

A spokesperson for the junta last month defended the death penalty, saying it was justified and used in many countries.