ASEAN Chair Condemns ‘Highly Reprehensible’ Myanmar Executions

The killings demonstrate the regime’s contempt for regional and global opinion. Could they force ASEAN to change its approach to the country’s conflict?

Cambodia, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has condemned in unusually strong language Myanmar’s execution of four political prisoners, signaling a possible shift in the bloc’s approach toward its problem member.

In a statement issued today, Cambodia’s government said that ASEAN was “extremely troubled and deeply saddened” to hear that the junta had carried out the executions, despite a personal appeal by Prime Minister Hun Sen to reconsider the sentences. It added, “This is an issue that ASEAN takes seriously.”

Yesterday, Myanmar’s military junta announced that it had executed four democracy activists that it accused of aiding “terror acts” against the military administration that seized power last February. The four were Phyo Zeyar Thaw, a hip-hop artist-cum-lawmaker for the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD), the veteran pro-democracy activist Ko Jimmy, and Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, two other men involved in the anti-junta resistance.

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