The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M), an advocacy group consisting of former UN experts on Myanmar, has condemned ASEAN’s announcement that it is to deliver humanitarian assistance via the military junta in a statement published on 9 May.
The group argued that the strategy would likely have no benefit for the people of Myanmar, yet assist the State Administration Council (SAC) in achieving its military objectives, reports DVB.
The military regime flagged five regions it would allow humanitarian assistance to – Kayah and Kayin State and Sagaing, Magway, and Bago Regions.
“The areas singled out for humanitarian assistance by the military junta under ASEAN’s plan are the very areas where the junta has been relentlessly attacking civilians with airstrikes and scorched-earth campaigns for months on end,” said Marzuki Darusman, a member of SAC-M. “The junta has no power in those areas and its attempt to control ASEAN’s delivery of aid to them is nothing more than a strategy designed to advance its military agenda.”
Other organizations and stakeholders also condemned the ASEAN bloc’s humanitarian plan.
The Burmese activist group Progressive Myanmar published a joint statement this week from Burmese civil society organizations and international organizations that expresses grave concerns about humanitarian aid being weaponized by the military through ASEAN’s proposal.
The statement was signed by over 700 signatories both inside and outside of Myanmar.
Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) also posted a statement on one of its Facebook pages on May 7 expressing disappointment about the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar held on 6 May, reports DVB.
ASEAN faces increasing pressure from Myanmar activists and international organizations to deliver humanitarian aid through third parties and to engage with the NUG. In the aftermath of 2008’s devastating Cyclone Nargis, the Myanmar military famously blocked international aid from reaching intended beneficiaries, instead embezzling funds for its own use.