Guwahati: The ruling Myanmar junta has been avoided by the organisers by inviting the military generals for forthcoming ASEAN summits, scheduled for 26–28 October 2021 in Brunei, which is welcomed by the Burmese (Myanmarese) civil society organisations. The Southeast Asia foreign ministers, in a recent emergency meeting, decided to exclude the Min Aung Hlaing led junta from attending the important regional summits.
The decision is understood as the first significant step that ASEAN leaders have taken against the junta after almost nine months of the military coup that dethroned the democratically elected government in NayPieTaw. It is also the first significant rebuke of the junta ASEAN leaders after their emergence in the post 1 February 2021 coup.
The representatives of Myanmar civil society organisations welcome the development, but at the same time, they oppose the ASEAN’s invitation to a non-political representative for the ASEAN summits. Regardless of whether the chosen representative is political or non-political, as long as they represent the military junta, rejections will continue in their presence at all ASEAN summits, commented Khin Ohmar of Progressive Voice.
“The junta is a terrorist organisation and anyone appointed by them as delegates to the summit does not represent the people of Myanmar. Furthermore, inviting a non-political representative is an attempt to depoliticise an issue that is deeply political. Instead of further dithering in addressing the situation in Myanmar, ASEAN must immediately take steps to recognise the national unity government as the legitimate government of Myanmar,” added Ms Ohmar.
While taking harsh actions against the anti-junta activists across the underdeveloped southeast Asian nation, the Burmese generals killed at least 433 individuals in cold-blood and arrested over 4,615 protesters for the five-point consensus with ASEAN surfaced. The decision by ASEAN should not be limited to the summits but must apply to other bodies and mechanisms within ASEAN, said Nai Aue Mon of Human Rights Foundation of Monland.
Karen Human Rights Group representative Naw Htoo Htoo stated that the military junta made commitments to deliver humanitarian aid through various centres, but it is important to remember that it is the heinous actions of the military generals which are creating the human rights and humanitarian catastrophe in the poverty-stricken country.
“ASEAN must coordinate with the United Nations to address the Myanmar crisis and responsible centres must provide aid through the national unity government, ethnic health organisations, local civil society & humanitarian organisations employing cross-border methods to reach the people in need of humanitarian assistance,” added the Karen leader.