ASEAN: Halt Plans for “Inclusive Dialogue” and Act to Hold the Military Junta to Account

December 1, 2023

ASEAN: Halt Plans for “Inclusive Dialogue” and Act to Hold the Military Junta to Account

We, the undersigned organisations, call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to refrain from merely advocating for inclusive national dialogue in Myanmar that undermine efforts and the will of Myanmar people. ASEAN must take concrete actions to fulfil the demands made by the people of Myanmar to establish a federal democratic union and bring the illegal military junta and Min Aung Hlaing to justice for committing mass atrocity crimes.

We took note of the update provided by the ASEAN Office of the Special Envoy on Myanmar as led by H.E. Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya–representing Indonesia as the current ASEAN Chair–and attended by a representative from Laos, the next Chair of the regional bloc. The update concerned the separate exchanges it had with various stakeholders, including representatives from the military junta and the National Unity Government (NUG) on 22–23 November 2023.[1]

While the inclusion of legitimate representatives of the Spring Revolution and the NUG in any efforts to address the crisis in Myanmar is welcome, our concern persists with the ASEAN’s continued push for the realisation of the failed ASEAN Five-Point Consensus (5PC) and the call for “inclusive national dialogue”, failing to address the root cause of the intensifying atrocity crimes across Myanmar by the Myanmar military. In particular, the message conveyed by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia that “inclusive dialogue and political solutions are the only viable solutions to address the crisis in Myanmar” disrespects and undermines the immense sacrifices of the people of Myanmar, especially the young generations, that call for an end to the military tyranny and to achieve a genuine federal democracy since the military’s attempted coup in February 2021.

At the margins of the ASEAN Summit in May 2023, more than hundreds of local and global civil society organisations called for the ASEAN to move beyond its failed 5PC, asserting that it has emboldened the illegal junta to commit further crimes and exacerbate the suffering of the people of Myanmar. As an alternative, the groups proposed the Five Counter Points, one of which stressed the necessity for ASEAN to “secure an enabling environment where federal democracy forces and stakeholders are guaranteed agency, respect, and security” prior to calling for an inclusive dialogue for all stakeholders–a condition that includes the immediate cessation of the junta’s violence, persecution, and attacks on democracy forces as well as its collective punishment against the population.[2]

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