25 October 2022
457 CSOs call on ASEAN to move beyond the Five-Point Consensus, exclude junta representation from all ASEAN meetings and mechanisms and work with Myanmar’s civilian actors to end the crisis
ASEAN must take concrete steps to end atrocities by the Myanmar junta
ASEAN must replace the ineffectual Five-Point Consensus (5PC) with a concrete plan of action to address the multiple catastrophes in Myanmar, said 457 civil society organizations in a joint letter to ASEAN leaders issued today. The bloc must cease inviting all political and non-political representatives of the Myanmar military junta to its summits and meetings, and instead consult and support civil society and the National Unity Government, said the groups.
The groups are also calling for the mandate of the ASEAN Special Envoy to be amended, with a new appointment to be made every three years by the ASEAN Chair with renewed clear terms of reference.
The upcoming ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Summit present an opportunity for the bloc to turn over a new leaf in its efforts to address the crisis in Myanmar since the 1 February 2021 failed coup.
For the past 20 months, the military junta has ceaselessly perpetrated atrocity crimes against the people of Myanmar. Despite being put on notice for non-compliance with the 5PC, the junta has repeatedly been emboldened by ASEAN’s empty warnings and “dialogues” to continue the terror campaign with blanket impunity.
Khin Ohmar, Chairperson of Progressive Voice, said: “We are looking to Indonesia Chairship and their strong leadership as the driving force in ASEAN to end heinous crimes committed by the military junta.
“Going forward, we expect substantial actions to reverse the extensive harm caused by ASEAN’s current approach to the struggle of Myanmar people.
“ASEAN must urgently develop a new action plan with clear benchmarks, based on extensive consultation with civil society, the National Unity Government and ethnic revolutionary organizations.”
Naw Hser Hser, General-Secretary of the Women’s League of Burma, said: “Local humanitarian actors have been indispensable in providing aid to most vulnerable populations in direst needs, despite immense challenges.
“ASEAN must stop relying on its humanitarian wing, the AHA Centre in which the junta is involved in the governing board, and stop partnering with the junta to provide humanitarian assistance, lest over a million lives continue to suffer aid weaponization. Rather, the bloc must support localization of aid and redirect resources to local humanitarian groups including through cross-border channels.”
Kasit Pironya, Board Member of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, said: “The ASEAN Special Envoy’s mandate should be revised, in order to follow human rights principles, and have as their sole mission working to put a stop to the brutality in Myanmar. Under Indonesia Chairship, the Envoy must immediately engage with civil society and ethnic organizations as well as the National Unity Government.
“The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar is a threat to regional security. To prevent further destabilizing of the region, ASEAN should support the Myanmar people in their struggle to end the junta’s crimes and terror.”
The letter has been sent to ASEAN leaders, ahead of a special meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers on 27 October where they will discuss the implementation of the 5PC. The ASEAN Summit is due to take place on 10 – 13 November 2022.
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