July 26, 2021 – In solidarity with the people of Myanmar, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) condemns the recent execution of four democracy activists in Myanmar by the military regime and calls for the restoration of peace, the rule of law, and protection for all people in Myanmar.
“The ill-advised decision of executing the four activists in custody is many steps backwards from the many efforts to move forward the political process to restore justice, peace, and democracy in Myanmar,” said Louie Bacomo, Regional Director for JRS Asia Pacific. “We call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to demonstrate in an unequivocal way their commitment to its values and the integrity of this regional body. It is a day to be remembered and we stand in solidarity with the families left behind by the four activists as well as many others who were killed during this ongoing violence.”
Almost 18 months after a military coup overthrew Myanmar’s elected civilian government, the country continues to be fraught with violence, insecurity, and displacement. The deaths of Kyaw Min Yu, Phyo Zayar Thaw, Hla Myo Aung, and Aung Thura Zaw, mark the first executions in Myanmar in decades and the latest example of human rights abuses in Myanmar.
In the encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis clearly states that “the death penalty is inadmissible and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.” He reinforced a call to recognize the “inalienable dignity of every human being and to accept that he or she has a place in this universe.”
JRS stands firm in this belief and will continue to work and ensure that the rights of all those affected by the current conflict are protected. This includes having access to safety, basic humanitarian services, and an education so that the young people of Myanmar can be prepared to help reconcile, recover, and rebuild their country.