ASEAN warns Myanmar against more executions

The recent hanging of four people caused international outrage

Photo: AP
Photo: AP


Published: Wed 3 Aug 2022, 10:45 AM

On Wednesday, the current ASEAN chair Cambodia warned Myanmar not to execute any more prisoners after the recent hanging of four people— two of which were prominent pro-democracy figures— caused international outrage.

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are discussing how to address the growing crisis in Myanmar, at talks in Phnom Penh.

The 10-nation regional bloc has so far made fruitless efforts to restore peace to the country after a military coup last year, as anger mounts at the junta's stonewalling tactics.

The Myanmar junta executed four prisoners last month— a move roundly condemned by ASEAN members, who are voicing increased frustration at the lack of progress on the regional bloc's "five-point consensus" plan on Myanmar's conflict. Agreed in April last year, the plan calls for an immediate end to violence and dialogue between the army and coup opponents.

"If more prisoners are to be executed, we will be forced to rethink our role vis-a-vis ASEAN's five-point consensus," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, as he opened the foreign ministers' gathering.

He added that the bloc was "disappointed and disturbed by the execution of these opposition activists despite the appeals from me and others for the death sentences to be reconsidered for the sake of political dialogue, peace and reconciliation".

However, with no Myanmar representatives present for the summit— highlighted by the country's prominently-placed empty chair— Cambodia's ASEAN spokesman admitted on Tuesday that progress over the conflict might be tricky.

The February coup has left Myanmar in disarray, with the death toll from a brutal military crackdown on dissent passing 2,100, according to a local monitoring group.


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