JAKARTA – As the ASEAN Secretary-General and a representative of the ASEAN Chair, Brunei, are expected to visit Myanmar this week, parliamentarians across Southeast Asia urge them to hold the military accountable for its blatant disregard of the five-point consensus, and to meet with all major stakeholders in Myanmar, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said today.
“More than one month since the ASEAN leaders’ meeting on Myanmar, the military has merely carried on with its brutal crackdown against the people,” said Charles Santiago, a Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) and Chair of APHR. “How many more innocent lives must be lost before ASEAN decides to move beyond words and actually put in place binding measures and lay out consequences for the military’s brutality?”
This visit must also be the occasion for ASEAN to meet with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, who have been in detention since the military coup on 1 February, APHR said.
“If ASEAN only meets with the military it risks, once again, playing into the junta’s public relations exercise and granting them legitimacy, when all they deserve is admonition,” Santiago added.
To have a genuine and inclusive dialogue with all parties, ASEAN’s delegation must also meet with representatives of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs).
“The delegation must make it clear to Min Aung Hlaing that constructive dialogue cannot be possible while political prisoners remain behind bars. It must demand to see them and urge their release. Otherwise, this trip to Myanmar may be completely worthless,” said Kasit Piromya, a former MP of Thailand and APHR Board Member.
The visit comes more than one month after an ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting was held, at which a Five-Point Consensus was agreed to by all who attended, including Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
As the Myanmar army continues its attacks and airstrikes, APHR also urges ASEAN Member States to help address the immediate needs of displaced persons inside the country and protect all persons seeking asylum. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 61,000 persons have been internally displaced and over 12,000 refugees have fled Myanmar since 1 February.
“Not only is the military committing serious human rights violations, but they are causing a humanitarian and refugee crisis. ASEAN must urge the military to grant all humanitarian organizations and agencies inside Myanmar and across borders immediate, unfettered and unimpeded access to to all those in need,” Piromya said.