FIDH - International Federation
for Human Rights
Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
Burma: Open Letter to
President Thein Sein on the abolition of the death penalty
Paris, Bangkok, 9 May 2014
FIDH and its member organization,
the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma), urge
you to take bold steps to abolish the death penalty in Burma.
Burma has not carried out an
execution since 1988. As a result, it is among the world’s
de facto abolitionist countries. However, during the
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 27 January 2011, the predecessor
military government rejected recommendations made by numerous
States to abolish capital punishment.
Despite the fact that courts
continued to impose death sentences during your term in office,
you took several important and welcome steps towards ensuring
that executions would not resume. In May 2011, January 2012,
and January 2014, you issued three presidential amnesties that
commuted death sentences to life imprisonment. Now you can promote
additional measures aimed at making Burma the third country
in ASEAN to abolish the death penalty. As the Chair of ASEAN
for 2014, your country has an unprecedented opportunity to lead
the bloc by example and make progress towards transforming ASEAN
into a death penalty-free region.
FIDH and ALTSEAN-Burma respectfully
urge you to use your executive powers to instruct your administration
• Introduce legislation
that amends Article 53 of the Criminal Code, removing the clause
that prescribes the death penalty for various criminal offenses.
• Introduce legislation that ratifies the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its second
Optional Protocol, which aims at abolishing the death penalty.
• Vote in favor of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution
that calls for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
The resolution will be introduced at the UNGA’s 69th regular
session, which will convene in September 2014.
These historic measures would
remain a key legacy of your presidency and mark a clear break
from the country’s past. We express our sincere hopes
that you will act on these recommendations, leading to the abolition
of the death penalty before Burma hands over the ASEAN Chair
to Malaysia in 2015.
We thank you for your attention
to this matter.