[APHR] Southeast Asian MPs alarmed by planned executions of four Myanmar political prisoners

12 June 2022

JAKARTA, 6 June 2022 – Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia are alarmed by the announcement by the Myanmar junta that it will carry out the death sentences handed down to four political prisoners, including prominent former member of Parliament, Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw, and well-known pro-democracy activist, Kyaw Min Yu, better known as “Ko Jimmy”, both convicted on charges of terrorism.

These death sentences would be the first known judicial executions in the country since 1988, according to Amnesty International, which considers Myanmar as “Abolitionist in Practice”, as it retains the death penalty in law, but has not applied it for decades. Ever since the coup in February last year that ousted the democratically elected government, Myanmar has seen a drastic surge in the number of people sentenced to death with at least 86 people, including minors who were under 18 at the time.

“ASEAN and the international community must use every means at their disposal to prevent these executions from taking place. If they are carried out they will be nothing less than cold blooded political assassination. These executions would further contribute to prevent the already remote possibility of a sustainable political dialogue, as prescribed over one year ago in the Five-Point Consensus agreed by ASEAN member states and Min Aung Hlaing’s junta, which has not made any effort whatsoever in that direction,” said Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament from Malaysia, and APHR Chairperson. 

The Myanmar military has killed at least 1,887 protesters since the coup, but it is attempting to give a veneer of legality to the execution of the four men. Yet it is abundantly clear that, as in dozens of sentences handed by military tribunals, there was no respect for fair trial rights.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) unreservedly supports the recent United Nations Secretary General’s statement reminding Myanmar’s military that the death sentences are a blatant violation of the right to life, liberty and security of person, as per Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also join him in emphasizing that the Declaration also enshrines the principles of equality before the law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, and all of the guarantees necessary for a person’s defense.

“This announcement should be viewed in the context of the increasingly brazen atrocities being committed by the Myanmar military in order to consolidate its power in the face of widespread popular resistance. The junta is killing, torturing and arbitrarily arresting Myanmar people with an impunity that owes a great deal to the failure of the international community to hold it accountable for its crimes,” said Santiago.

APHR calls on each and every member state of ASEAN, as well as its Dialogue Partners, to urgently demand an unconditional and immediate stay of execution and release of the four detainees by the self-declared State Administration Council. They must individually and collectively make a stand before it is too late, not only for these four, but for all those currently arbitrarily detained who should be immediately and unconditionally released.

Click here to read this statement on APHR’s website.

For more information please contact info@aseanmp.org.


[APHR] Southeast Asian MPs call Indonesia to give a voice to the Global South at the G20

11 June 2022

JAKARTA, 9 June 2022 – Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia have called Indonesia, the only G20 member in Southeast Asia and its President this year, to “give voice to the aspirations of the Global South” and bring to the table issues that particularly affect the region, but also the world in general, at the group’s Summit which will be held in November this year in Jakarta.

In a position paper published today, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) has urged Indonesia to advocate at the Summit for stronger and more creative global responses to the devastation caused by conflicts like that of Myanmar, a substantial increase in global financial support for a sustainable energy transition, and to find ways to reduce the impact of the world’s digital transformation on human rights and democracy.

We, Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia, are urging the Indonesian Government to use its preeminent position to promote at the G20 a form of collective and inclusive collaboration among nations to address challenges that, having a specific resonance to our region, affect humanity as a whole,” said APHR in the Position Paper.

APHR suggests that new creative ways are necessary to prevent the human and economic costs of crises such as those devastating Myanmar, Ukraine, Yemen or Syria. As international organizations like the UN, or regional groups like ASEAN, have often failed to prevent atrocities, Indonesia should propose a new Working Group at the G20 to discuss responses from the largest economies in the world to those crises.

On the climate change front, it has become evident that current pledges from states to reduce carbon emissions will not be sufficient to slow climate change, and the necessity to transition to renewable sources of energy is more urgent than ever. APHR urges Indonesia to lead the G20 to agree to accelerate the phasing out from coal and fossil fuels, but it must also substantially increase global financial support for such a transition.

Lastly, and in face of the challenges posed by the spread online of disinformation campaigns, divisiveness and hate-speech, APHR urges the G20 to discuss and identify measures that can be adopted to regulate the digital marketplace along democratic lines, put an end to invasive use of people’s personal data, and hold online platforms accountable for their harmful business models.

Click here to read the position paper.

Click here to read this press release on APHR’s website.

For more information please contact info@aseanmp.org.


Statement in Solidarity for the Restoration of Democracy and Justice in Myanmar

20 April 2021

MARUAH wishes to congratulate ASEAN for organising an ASEAN Special Summit Meeting on the 24th of April 2021 to discuss Myanmar and find a collective path to restore peace, non-violence, and democracy in the country. We state that this Special Summit is crucially important to the people in Myanmar and for ASEAN as a regional body of 10 member states. We also appreciate Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan for the discussions he had with ASEAN member states of Brunei, Indonesia[1] and Malaysia which have also been working towards this special Summit. We note that call made by ASEAN’s foreign ministers for a halt to the escalating violence and dialogue to end the crisis.[2]

But we need to underscore the importance of having a legitimate representation from Myanmar at the Special Summit meeting, as it is also part of ASEAN’s responsibility to the people in Myanmar and in ASEAN. We are of the view that this dialogue effort to negotiate for an agreement towards non-violence, peace and democracy would be derailed if Myanmar’s junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, is the sole representative for Myanmar. We note with concern the announcement made by Thailand that General Min Aung Hlaing is set to attend the ASEAN Special Summit meeting.[3]

The Tatmadaw’s leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, is the key person, responsible for the: coup; denunciation of last year’s legitimate elections where the National League for Democracy (NLD) had won decisively and fairly; ongoing violent assaults on people, continued air raids targeting ethnic groups and the severe restrictions and censorship imposed on the people. The net result is one that shows Myanmar’s people fleeing to other countries, an internal humanitarian crisis, of more than 700 civilians, including 50 children,[4] having been killed by Myanmar’s security forces since February 1st and the possibility of a civil war as 10 of Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups [5]have recently thrown their support behind the movement for democracy, peace and free and fair elections.

Hence, we state that recognising Gen Min Aung Hlaing as Myanmar’s political leader to be the sole representative at the Special Summit, would be a travesty to the rule of law, the principles spelt out in the ASEAN Charter and a gross injustice, a betrayal, to the people in Myanmar, many of whom are willing to die for their country.

We ask instead that the Special Summit asks for representatives from: the National Unity Government (NUG) that has been formed;[6] the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) which is a body formed of elected lawmakers from Myanmar’s ousted civilian government; and the tatmawdaw. This way it also anchors ASEAN as the neutral mediator focused on key political players being at the dialogues. It is also an opportunity for ASEAN to establish itself as the regional body that endorses peace, harmony and democracy in the region as also endorsed in the preamble of the 1976 Treaty of the Amity And Cooperation in Southeast Asia.[7]

In summary, we urge that this ASEAN Special Summit does:

  • include representatives from Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) and Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH)
  • explicitly state that General Min Aung Hlaing is attending as a representative of the Tatmadaw, not as leader of Myanmar
  • make a clear stand that ASEAN is functioning by the Responsibility to Protect principles and its principles for peace, democracy, and rule of law.

Statement issued by MARUAH Secretariat
20th April 2021


[1] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/vivian-balakrishnan-meets-indonesian-counterpart-retno-marsudi-in-jakarta

[2] https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/asean-coup-03022021134500.html

[3] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/myanmars-junta-leader-confirmed-to-attend-asean-meeting-thai-foreign-minister

[4] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/myanmar-activists-vow-week-of-protests-during-new-year-holidays

[5] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/myanmar-rebel-groups-back-anti-coup-protests-condemn-junta-crackdown

[6] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/whos-myanmars-national-unity-government.html

[7] “CONVINCED that the settlement of differences or disputes between their countries should be regulated by rational, effective and sufficiently flexible procedures, avoiding negative attitudes which might endanger or hinder cooperation; BELIEVING in the need for cooperation with all peace-loving nations, both within and outside Southeast Asia, in the furtherance of world peace, stability and harmony;”. https://asean.org/treaty-amity-cooperation-southeast-asia-indonesia-24-february-1976/