UN rights office praises Myanmar for commuting all death sentences

Thein Sein, President of the Union of Myanmar. UN Photo/Mark Garten

10 January 2014 – The United Nations human rights office today said it hopes that Myanmar’s decision to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment will lead to the full abolition of the death penalty in the country.

President Thein Sein announced on 2 January that he would commute death sentences to life imprisonment and reduce some sentences on humanitarian grounds and to mark the 66th anniversary of independence of the country, marked on 4 January.

“We warmly welcome the Myanmar Government’s Presidential Order,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.

The move is “very significant” for Myanmar, which has not carried out the death penalty since 1989, the spokesperson noted, as the country assumed the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The step “sets a positive example for other ASEAN member states and other States in the region and beyond,” Mr. Colville said on behalf of the Office for the High Commissioners of Human Rights (OHCHR).


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