Myanmar CSOs reject appointment of Brunei’s Foreign Minister II as ASEAN’s Special Envoy to Myanmar

August 6th, 2021  •  Author:   The Online Citizen  •  4 minute read

ASEAN has failed to consult with all parties in the appointment of the Special Envoy, say CSOs

413 Myanmar civil society organizations has voiced their rejection towards ASEAN’s decision to appoint Brunei’s Foreign Affairs Minister II Erywan Yusof as its special envoy to Myanmar and call for an immediate intervention by the United Nations (UN) to resolve the human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, under the coordination of the UN Secretary General.

They said in a statement on Friday (6 Aug) that the appointment has been made with the sole approval of the military junta, without consultation with the National Unity Government (NUG), civil society, and pro-democracy forces including the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

“This is an affront to ASEAN’s own five-point consensus, and will only further emboldened the junta, providing the murderous criminals with the political leverage they seek, while continuing to commit grave crimes including war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The people of Myanmar have continuously rejected the junta’s brutal attempted coup for over six months in line with ASEAN’s Charter’s declaration of “adhering to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

Meanwhile, the junta has murdered 948, arrested 7,055, displaced over 230,0000 people since the coup by conducting fierce aerial attacks and artillery shelling against civilians, villages and religious buildings. Since the five-point consensus was reached on 24 April, 200 peaceful protesters have been murdered and 2,626 have been arrested.

The Myanmar CSOs express deep disappointment with ASEAN and their lack of inclusive decision-making process and inaction in the face of some of the most heinous crimes committed in the region.

They highlight how the junta robbed people of Myanmar their sense of security and dignity as ASEAN, led by Brunei’s Foreign Minister II as the Chair, dithered in its appointment of the Special Envoy. They further point that the agreement of the five-point consensus, led by the Chair of ASEAN, Erywan Yusof, was agreed upon without the inclusion of the NUG. This is the same Chair that is now tasked with resolving urgent and pressing crisis in Myanmar.

Moreover, upon his visit with the junta in June, civil society organizations condemned his reluctance to meet with other parties, including the NUG, ethnic leaders and the CDM.

The visit was mired in lack of transparency due to this absence of engagement with all parties, which was contrary to the five-point consensus which reads: “A special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.” Despite the visit the junta has not made any commitments to implementing the five-point consensus.

They emphasised that the appointment of ASEAN’s Special Envoy will only serve to maintain the status quo and reaffirm ASEAN’s role in lending political legitimacy to the junta.

“Further delay by the UN and international community to intervene, placing the ASEAN at the driver’s seat, will only prolong the suffering of the people of Myanmar while ASEAN risks aiding and abetting the Myanmar military in its terror campaign against the Myanmar people with its ongoing crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

“ASEAN must work with the UN to tackle the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and work with all parties, especially the NUG in solving the regional crisis. The humanitarian aid that is urgently needed must be provided directly to the COVID-19 Task Force, local CSOs, community-based organizations, ethnic administrations, and appropriate forces within the CDM, including through cross-border channels in consultation with the NUG, not through the junta nor the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre).” said the CSOs.

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