The Myanmar/Burma army, known as the Tatmadaw, announced on 3 June that it had upheld death sentences against a former legislator from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party and a prominent pro-democracy activist in what will mark the country’s first judicial executions since 1990.

Former MP Phyo Zeya Thaw and activist Kyaw Min Yu, also known as Ko Jimmy, initially received the sentences in January 2022, and have now had their appeals rejected. No date has been set for their execution, but both are due to be “hanged according to prison procedures.”

According to a statement by Myanmar’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services, both men are accused of being “involved in terrorist acts such as explosion attacks, killing of civilians as informants.”

CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia Benedict Rogers said: “CSW condemns the death sentences against Phyo Zeya Thaw and Ko Jimmy, which, if followed through, will mark a new low for an army already responsible for a litany of egregious crimes against the people of Myanmar. We call for the charges against these two men to be dismissed, and for their immediate and unconditional release. We also reiterate our calls on the international community to do far more to ensure the urgent restoration of democracy in Myanmar, and to bring an end to the Tatmadaw’s reign of terror. Inaction is unacceptable, and the need for a co-ordinated global arms embargo against the military and its enterprises remains urgent.”

On 7 June four UN human rights experts condemned the Myanmar army’s attempts to establish a “digital dictatorship” through repeated internet shutdowns and restrictions, as well as online censorship and surveillance.

In a statement signed by the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, on the right to privacy, and on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the experts write: “The international community must not stand quietly by while the people of Myanmar are systematically denied their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy, which are guaranteed by international human rights law.”

“Online access to information is a matter of life and death for many people in Myanmar,” the experts continue. “Including those seeking safety from indiscriminate attacks by the military and the millions trying to navigate a devastating economic and humanitarian crisis. The junta is using internet shutdowns and invasive surveillance to undermine widespread public opposition and prop up its attacks on the people of Myanmar.”