While the Junta has stated that no further executions will take place, one cannot assume anything for now.
Furthermore, the pro-Junta audience went ahead and staged rallies to show their support for the executions—an old ploy of the present regime to show solidarity, no matter what discontentment or abhorrence they may experience from within and outside the nation. While the Junta has stated that no further executions will take place, one cannot assume anything for now.
The mistreatment of the families of those hanged was appalling. It has been a practice of the Junta in its earlier executions that the families are never informed prior to committing the act.
Thus, the military is aiming to become the complete controller of the nation whereby this time, no other party or institution can undermine or topple it. In this regard, the execution seemed to be planned for two reasons. One, the executions have been a statement in itself that the Junta will act according to its own perception of the balance of justice and power. No amount of international or regional weight can navigate or influence its decision. Second, the generals may have planned that executing renowned pro-democracy activists will instil fear that will help reduce movements that have made the functioning of the new government difficult. On the contrary, the current move has bolstered people and ethnic groups to heighten efforts to end military rule.
The military on a sincere note maintains that it continues to support and uphold the genuine multi-party democratic system that the people of Myanmar so desire but the democracy will be a disciplined one, controlled by the current administration.
Cambodia, the current chair of the regional body ASEAN, which till recently had been supporting the Junta and projecting that the nation will act and eventually adhere to the 5-point consensus, has been thrown off track. After the execution, the chair has shown its complete displeasure. Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen has expressed deep regret and termed the actions “highly reprehensible, as it created a setback to and presented a gross lack of will to support the efforts, particularly by the ASEAN Chair, in expediting progress on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus (5PC).” While stating this, he also specified that ASEAN will continue to assist Myanmar to find normalcy for the sake of its people and in line with the five-point consensus. It is well known that Cambodia’s foreign minister Prak Sokhonn,, who is also the Special Envoy to ASEAN, was, in June, barred for the second time from meeting ex-state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, other ethnic parties that are not affiliated with the military government. The generals did not listen to the Envoy’s request of releasing Suu Kyi from her detention nor did they refrain from carrying out the executions. Thus, at this point, expecting adherence to the five-point consensus seems a delusional. The Junta has continued to pick and choose points that suit its interest but has seemed uninterested in following the complete peace plan that hopes to bring about fruitful results. Whether the ministerial meeting scheduled on 3 August will bring about some new strategy, or will it just be another rhetoric is yet to be seen. The continued rule of the Junta for more than 18 months is filled with humanitarian crises where more than one million have been displaced, half the nation is living in poverty, humanitarian responses are being curtailed/appropriated, economic condition is depleting and the death toll rising. Against this backdrop extending the state of emergency allows the military to abduct, arrest, punish, kill, and appropriate resources as they deem fit without any explanation or trial. Without any urgent action from the regional blocs and the political will of the generals, changes will be difficult to set in.
The Kachin Political Interim Coordination Team, including the Kachin Independent Organization and Chinland Joint Defence Committee of 18 Chin armed forces, condemned the executions and promised war in return.
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Sreeparna Banerjee is a Junior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation Kolkata with the Strategic Studies Programme.Read More +