Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar today

Diplomatic Correspondent

24 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold its special summit today to discuss the worsening situation in Myanmar following the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters by the military rulers of the country. 

Hundreds of eminent personalities, civil society organizations in Myanmar and in other Southeast Asian nations and globally called on the ASEAN, its leaders and Member States to come up with an effective strategy jointly with UN in addressing the illegitimate and brutal coup and atrocity crimes committed by the military junta in Myanmar

The decision hopefully constitutes a precedent and reflects the commitment of ASEAN Member States leaders to address Myanmar’s appalling situation using its highest-level policy-making body, said the statement.

However, in view of ASEAN Member States’

differing positions on the coup in Myanmar, “We remain extremely concerned that the ASEAN Summit’s response might  be to  consider the crisis as solely within Myanmar’s domestic affairs and therefore deciding to refrain from any meaningful action in line with the “ASEAN Way” of non-interference and overzealous respect for ‘state sovereignty.’”

“With the different interests and political will of ASEAN Member States at the moment, we are concerned to what extent the Special ASEAN Summit can create an immediate and meaningful intervention to resolve the situation of Myanmar,” reads the statement.

Any decision by the ASEAN leaders to treat the military junta as the legitimate representative of Myanmar in the Summit will serve to legitimize the military junta’s crimes and will thus damage not only the relationship of ASEAN with the peoples of Myanmar but the people’s movement for democracy and human rights in the region as a whole.

Given the gravity of the situation, the signatories said the increasing number of victims, and the impact of the crisis on the region’s security and political stability, “we strongly urge ASEAN to take firm and effective actions to address the Myanmar coup through the Special ASEAN Summit.”

They urged all ASEAN leaders to listen to, strongly consider, and to heed the aspirations and will of the peoples of Myanmar. The voices of Myanmar people who have risked their lives in defense of democracy and justice must be the anchor, the conscience, behind any modality and outcome of the Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar, added the statement.

Therefore, in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, we call on the ASEAN leaders to immediately take the following actions:

They urged the ASEAN leaders to reject the presence of illegitimate military junta as the representative of Myanmar in the Summit.

They called for establishing a solid and coordinated response among the ASEAN, the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council with the aim of sending a joint delegation to Myanmar to monitor the situation, put ending the violence and helping negotiate a democratic, peaceful and human rights-based solution, fully support initiatives by the international community to impose a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions against the military, their personnel and business entities related to them and for the UN Security Council to refer the Myanmar situation to the ICC.

They urged to take substantial measures against Myanmar, including suspending Myanmar’s membership of ASEAN. ASEAN shall only lift the suspension once the military junta accepts the authority of NUG, the military places itself fully, permanently and unconditionally under NUG control, the junta is brought to the ICC, and democracy is fully established.

The joint statement was signed by 744 individuals, 402 civil society organisations in Myanmar and 444 in other Southeast Asian nations and globally.