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[Joint Statement] Concerted actions needed from ASEAN and UN lest Myanmar military junta remains regional stability threat

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(Jakarta, 16 November 2022) — ASEAN and the UN Security Council (UNSC) must move beyond the Five-Point Consensus and immediately join forces to take coordinated actions to cease the Myanmar military junta’s ongoing atrocity crimes, said Progressive Voice (PV), Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma), and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).

While ASEAN commits to exclude junta representatives from Summits and Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and recognizes the need for a practical implementation plan in its assessment at the Summit on 10 – 13 November, the Five-Point Consensus remains flawed, ineffective and unenforceable absent a comprehensive and more assertive approach, the groups said.

The National Unity Government (NUG) who legitimately represents the Myanmar people must be included and the junta representatives must be barred from ASEAN meetings at all levels, the groups called. The mandate of the ASEAN Special Envoy on Myanmar still lacks clarity and substance, and should be transformed into a three-year appointment with clear terms of reference and independence.

Complementary actions between ASEAN and the international community, particularly the UNSC, are urgently needed to address the multiple crises in Myanmar. This means to stop lending legitimacy to the junta on all platforms and to develop a concerted plan grounded in consultation with civil society and the NUG and the National Unity Consultative Council.

ASEAN and its external partners must support an immediate UNSC resolution on Myanmar. The resolution should be brought to the UN General Assembly for a debate and vote if vetoed by China and Russia on the Security Council. There is ample evidence of the junta’s crimes against humanity and war crimes, direct violations of UNSC resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, and the protection of children during armed conflict.

Quotes from signatories to the press release

“The people of Myanmar are looking to Indonesia’s strong leadership to reshape ASEAN’s current failed approach into substantial measures against the terrorist junta. The Five-Point Consensus and the ASEAN Special Envoy mandate have inflicted immense harm on the Myanmar people and the region; these actions must be corrected. The bloc can no longer lend the junta any shred of legitimacy on all its stages. Rather, it must recognize and support the true representatives of the Myanmar people, the National Unity Government,” said Khin Ohmar, Chairperson of Progressive Voice.

“The magnitude of the junta’s ongoing atrocity crimes requires no less than a well-coordinated plan of action by both ASEAN and the international community. The bloc and its partners can — and must — take realistic, appropriate steps. A UN Security Council resolution, with a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions, must be prioritized and campaigned. Short of that, the junta continues to be emboldened to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Debbie Stothard, Founder and Coordinator of ALTSEAN-Burma.

“More than 1.1 million people will continue to suffer through the junta’s weaponization of aid unless ASEAN ceases partnering with the junta through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) to provide relief. The past 19 months have more than proven that this approach has exacerbated the multifaceted catastrophes against humanity. It is time that ASEAN redirects its support to the tried-and-trusted channels of local humanitarian groups who have been the frontline defenders of local communities,” said FORUM-ASIA.

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For a PDF version of this statement, please click here.