ASEAN: Holding on to the Five-Point Consensus is a failure of commitment to the stability of the region

May 22nd, 2023  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  9 minute read
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Furthermore, by continuing to allow the representatives of the Myanmar military – that is the root cause of the crises in Myanmar – to remain on the Governing Board of the AHA Centre, not only undermines its credibility, independence, and impartiality, but enables the junta to advance their political agenda while committing atrocities.

The recent attack on a convoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) is yet another indication of the failure of ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus (5PC) in addressing Myanmar’s crisis. Moreover, while the ASEAN’s leaders were gathering for the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia on 10 – 11 May 2023, the Myanmar military killed at least 18 people, including five children, in Htantabin Township, Bago Region. Yet, the statement issued by the ASEAN Leaders as an outcome of its 42nd Summit was disappointing and concerning for the people of Myanmar. The continued ineffective approach and delay of concrete actions in response to Myanmar’s crisis by ASEAN emboldens the terrorist military to commit further atrocity crimes across the country.

Following the recent attack against the AHA Centre convoy in Shan State, Khin Ohmar, Chairperson of Progressive Voice said, “The attack on the AHA Centre convoy took place in an area controlled by the Pa-O National Organization, an ethnic militia armed group that acts as a proxy to the military junta with no active armed conflict at present. It is highly likely that the Myanmar military junta is behind the recent attack”. The Pa-O National Federal Council (PNFC), which is the political leadership body of Pa-O people who are taking part in the Spring Revolution, also stated that “eyewitness statements by resident Pa-O nationals indicates this attack was perpetuated by the those impersonating the local People’s Force”, and “..observing this shooting of the diplomatic convoy incident that the terrorist military council has no intention helping the people with the required humanitarian aid whatsoever, nor does it have the capacity nor the will to help either.”The Myanmar military has historically weaponized humanitarian aid and used divide-and-rule tactics among inter- and intra-ethnic communities for their political gain and as stated by the PNFC, at the time of unrest, and discord, actors must be aware of the junta’s strategy “to instill more disharmony between different ethnic communities.”

Continuing to allow the representatives of the Myanmar military – that is the root cause of the crises in Myanmar – to remain on the Governing Board of the AHA Centre, not only undermines its credibility, independence, and impartiality, but enables the junta to advance their political agenda while committing atrocities. As called on by the National Unity Government (NUG) and civil society organizations, ASEAN must immediately remove the junta’s representation from the AHA Centre’s Governing Board. 

In a reflection of the junta’s complete disregard for human life, on the second day of the ASEAN Summit on 10 May, the Myanmar military committed a massacre of at least 18 people, including children and women, in Nyaung Pin Thar Village in Htantabin Township, Bago Region. Reportedly, the murderous military brutally killed and burned the dead bodies. Following the horrific massacre, Karen Human Rights Group and the Karen Peace Support Network issued a joint statement condemning the brutal act of the military junta stating, “the deliberate targeting of civilians constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes. The murder of civilians in a systematic and widespread manner is also a crime against humanity.” The statement also called on the international community to stop turning a blind eye to the junta’s atrocity crimes and take immediate and meaningful action to stop the junta’s attacks. The Nyaung Pin Thar massacre is the second largest massacre in Bago Region since the 2021 attempted coup after 80 people were killed on 9 April 2021 in an attack against peaceful protesters in Bago city. 

It has been over two years since the 5PC was adopted by ASEAN with the agreement of the junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing. It is clear that the junta has never had any intention to honor this agreement. Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, even admitted that “there’s been no significant progress” on the implementation of the five-point consensus. Yet, ASEAN leaders reaffirmed at the 42nd Summit that the 5PC will remain as its main reference in addressing the crisis in Myanmar without concrete action to enforce it. As the Myanmar crisis escalates, with spillover effects increasingly reaching beyond Myanmar’s borders, ASEAN’s decision to hold on to the failed 5PC is a failure of its own responsibility for regional peace and stability.  

Last year in 2022 and this year in January 2023, the illegal Myanmar military junta has launched several airstrikes against resistance groups in which they have breached the airspaces of neighboring countries, Thailand and India. Two bombs were dropped into Indian territory in January this year by the terrorist Myanmar military and caused some damage on the Indian side of the border. In addition to that is the inevitable growing number of conflict-affected people fleeing into neighboring countries. In line with international human rights and humanitarian law, these neighboring governments must not turn a blind eye and ensure that refugees receive adequate assistance. These dynamics make it evident that the crisis in Myanmar does not just concern Myanmar but it is a regional issue and is a growing threat to the peace and stability of the ASEAN region.

ASEAN must heed and implement the five recommendations made by civil society, including the immediate end to the military junta’s atrocity crimes, end all official engagements with the military junta, ensure the delivery of aid by centering border-based local organizations, and for the ASEAN Special Envoy to engage with NUG, National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations (EROs). Additionally it is time for ASEAN leaders to prove their commitment and effectiveness to help solve the Myanmar crisis by taking decisive action, including to call on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.

Resources from the past week


Statements and Press Releases

ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the Recent Attack on a Convoy of the AHA Centre and ASEAN Monitoring Team in Myanmar

By Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Chairman’s Statement of the 42nd ASEAN Summit

By Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASEAN: Support the People of Burma, Recognise the legitimate National Unity Government

By Burma Human Rights Network

တရုတ်နိုင်ငံသူနိုင်ငံသားများနှင့် နိုင်ငံတကာရှိ တရုတ်လူမျိုးများသို့ အိတ်ဖွင့်ပေးစာ

By General Strike Coordination Body

Open Letter to the Communist Party of China

By General Strike Collaboration Committee

Statement of condemnation of the recent mass killing of civilians by the SAC in Kler Lwee Htoo District, Southeast Burma

By Karen Human Rights Group, Karen Peace Support Network

အကြမ်းဖက်စစ်ကောင်စီ၏တပ်မှ ညောင်ပင်သာရွာသားများကို ဖမ်းဆီး ညှင်းပန်းနှိပ်စက်ပြီး မီးရှို့သတ်ဖြတ်

By Karen National Union

ကေအဲန်ယူ−ကရင်အမျိုးသားအစည်းအရုံး ကော်သူးလေအုပ်ချုပ်နယ်မြေများအတွင်း အာဏာသိမ်း အကြမ်းဖက်စစ်ကောင်စီတပ်များ၏ ၂၀၂၃ ခုနှစ် ဧပြီလအတွင်းလူ့အခွင့်အရေးချိုးဖောက်မှုများ

By Karen National Union

KNU Statement on the Inhumane Burning and mass killing of Nyaung Bin Tha Villagers, Mone Township, Kler Lwee Htu District

By Karen National Union

ကေအဲန်ယူ-ကရင်အမျိုးသားအစည်းအရုံး ကျင်းပသော(၁၇)ကြိမ်မြောက် ရွေးကောက်ပွဲကွန်ကရက်မှ နုတ်ထွက်လိုက်ခြင်းနှင့် ပတ်သက်ပြီး မူတြော်ခရိုင်၊ အမှတ်(၅)တပ်မဟာ အမြဲတမ်းကော်မတီ မှ အသိပေးထုတ်ပြန်ခြင်း

By Karen National Union Brigade (5)

42nd ASEAN Summit 2023 Agrees on Migrant Worker Protection and Myanmar Conflict Resolution

By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia

MFA Spokesperson’s Comments on the Recent Incident Involving the ASEAN Humanitarian Convoy in Shan State, Myanmar

By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore

National Unity Government – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement (9/2023)

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Statement in relation to attack made on a Diplomatic Convoy in Pa-O territory

By Pa-O National Federal Council

Quotes on attack against AHA Centre Convoy

By Progressive Voice

AHA စင်တာ ယာဥ်တန်းတိုက်ခိုက်ခံရမှုနှင့်ပတ်သက်၍ ပြောကြားမှုမှ ကောက်နုတ်ချက်

By Progressive Voice

ASEAN Remiss in Failing to Censure the Military Junta

By Special Advisory Council for Myanmar

Media advisory: In first mission to India, Special Envoy Heyzer calls for regional unity for de-escalation of violence, release of political prisoners and return to civilian rule based on the will of the people

By United Nations Myanmar

Statement on the recent food aid cuts to Rohingya refugees

By Women’s Peace Network



Coup Watch April 2023 – The illegal junta commits mass murder ahead of Buddhist new year

By ALTSEAN-Burma, Asia Democracy Network, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Burma Human Rights Network, Initiatives for International Dialogue, International Federation for Human Rights, Progressive Voice, US Campaign for Burma, Women’s Peace Network

Human Shields and Leveled Homes in Northern Burma, April 2023

By Free Burma Rangers

The Burma Army is Losing Grip on Economic Corridor in Kutkai Township, Shan State: Burma Army Attack Report in Northern Burma, February 2023

By Free Burma Rangers

The Burma Army Levels Village Amidst Battlefield Setbacks: Burma Army Attack Report in Northern Burma, March 2023

By Free Burma Rangers

Heavy Violence Continues in Hpakant Township, Kachin State: Burma Army Attack Report in Northern Burma, January 2023

By Free Burma Rangers

Summary of SAC human rights violations in Karenni State and Pekhon Township (Apr 24 – May 7, 2023)

By Karenni Civil Society Network

The Attack On Humanitarian Convoy, A Lesson To Be Taken. – Issue 103

By Myanmar Peace Monitor

Tortured, beheaded and dismembered

By Myanmar Witness

SAC shelling and airstrikes kill four civilians and damage dozens of houses in Nawngkhio township, northern Shan State

By Shan Human Rights Foundation

Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”