international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
In Myanmar (formerly Burma) capital crimes are: murder, treason, military crimes, perjury resulting in the execution of an innocent defendant and other violent crimes. In 1993, Myanmar adopted a law that allows for the death penalty to be imposed for drug offences under certain circumstances.
Myanmar had been under military rule since 1988. However, no executions have taken place since then, and the authorities have continued its policy of commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment.
Following general elections held in November 2015, with the National League for Democracy winning a supermajority of seats in the national parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi became Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Councellor of Myanmar, de facto Prime Minister, in March and April 2016, respectively.
On 5 October 2016, the Parliament repealed the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, which was widely applied by the former military government to stifle political activists by threatening harsh penalties, including a potential death sentence for leaking state secrets.
Under the repressive act anyone found guilty of committing treason – which included such activities as sabotage of railways or damaging telegraph poles – could face penalties including a lifetime in prison or a death sentence.
National League for Democracy MP's, many former political prisoners themselves, have pushed for repeal of controversial law since taking power in March. The Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee proposed abolishing the law at the beginning of August, citing its misuse to arbitrarily detain civilians and politicians, but a Union Solidarity and Developmetn Party and a military MP defended the law, suggesting amendments to restrict the scope of its application instead. The proposal made its way to Myanmar's upper house on September 14.
On 22 January 2016, President Thein Sein pardoned another 102 prisoners, including 52 political prisoners. As well as those released, 77 prisoners who were sentenced to the death penalty have had their sentences commuted to life in prison. President's office spokesperson Zaw Htay indicated to AFP that the amnesty was to mark the beginning of the World Buddhist Peace Conference in Sagaing Region.
The amnesty – the sixth since the new Government assumed office on 30 March 2011, following decades of repression under previous military regimes – was granted as part of the national reconciliation process. Until the end of his mandate in March 2016, Thein Sein has pushed forward reforms in areas such as media, the Internet and political participation.
In March 2016, the Government of Myanmar under the UPR of the UN Human Rights Council occurred on 6 November 2016, accepted recfour ommendations to consider ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Second Optional Protocol as well as abolishing de jure the death penalty but rejected nine reccomandations calling for the introduction of a moratorium on capital executions and the abolition of the death penalty.
On 17 December 2018, for the third time, Myanmar abstained on the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.