The New Zealand Government has condemned the “barbaric” executions of four people, including pro-democracy activists and opposition leaders, in Myanmar.
“Aotearoa New Zealand has a strong and long standing opposition to the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances,” said Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.
“This was a barbaric act by Myanmar’s military regime. New Zealand condemns these actions in the strongest possible terms.
“Our sympathies are with the families and loved ones of the victims.”
Among those executed was former rapper and ousted MP, Phyo Zeya Thaw (pictured). Prominent democracy figure, Kyaw Min Yu, was also executed. The other two men put to death were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper has reported.
Sentenced to death at trials in January and April, the four men had been accused of helping militias fight the army that seized power in a coup last year.
Previous executions in Myanmar have been carried out by hanging.
“We made our views known to Myanmar prior to the executions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade engaged with the Myanmar Embassy in Canberra to convey New Zealand’s concerns and objections in mid-June,” said Ms Mahuta.
“We have been working with others to find avenues for influence and also raised the issue at a Human Rights Council session in Geneva on 22 June.
“Aotearoa New Zealand condemns the military coup in Myanmar and the on-going violence against civilians. We call on the military regime to immediately end the violence, adhere to ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus and release all political prisoners including foreign nationals,” she said.