6 August 2021
413 Myanmar civil society organizations reject ASEAN’s decision to appoint Brunei’s Foreign Affairs Minister II Erywan Yusof as its special envoy to Myanmar. 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 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.
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. 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.
This 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.
Myanmar CSOs call for an immediate intervention by the UN to resolve the human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, under the coordination of the UN Secretary General. 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).
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Please note: Due to serious security concerns, names of 413 local civil society organizations who endorsed and signed this statement cannot be disclosed. The signed CSOs work on range of humanitarian, human rights protection, and rights-based issues in Myanmar.
Download this statement HERE.