Right to Life Breached in Myanmar with the Death Penalty

Right to Life Breached in Myanmar with the Death Penalty
Three Finger Salute for Myanmar, Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash, 2021

Aysu Amaha Öztürk

Myanmar and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

Human Rights Watch has stated that the Myanmar military junta has sentenced 10 people to death, 7 being university students from the Dagon University Students’ Union (Human Rights Watch, 2022). These sentences are conducted very secretly in military tribunals. The public, diplomats, or families of prisoners cannot enter the trial or obtain information regarding the status of the prisoner. Moreover, most of the death sentences are issued without evidence or with evidence that is obtained with torture and ill treatment (Human Rights Watch, 2022). Therefore, the issues not only surround the right to life but the right to a fair trial and due process. 

Although Myanmar has not ratified any specific treaties regarding the death penalty, it is nevertheless obliged to respect the right to life as part of customary international law (Gormley, 1987). Thus, if Myanmar continues this practice of killing prisoner activists with the death penalty, it will continue to breach the customary international law that protects individuals’ right to life. Myanmar must immediately stop capital punishment and have public trials for the prisoners. 

Sources and further reading:

‘Myanmar: Junta Sentences 10 Prisoners to Death’ (2022, November 28). Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/05/myanmar-junta-sentences-10-prisoners-death

Gormley, P. (1987). The Right to Life in International Law. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, 16(1), 191-197.