UN expert calls for new strategy and ASEAN action to end crisis in Myanmar News
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UN expert calls for new strategy and ASEAN action to end crisis in Myanmar

UN expert Tom Andrews urged the international community in Jakarta on Wednesday to find a different approach to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, saying the current strategy is ineffective. Myanmar is currently under military rule after the 2021 overthrow of its democratically elected government.

Tom Andrews is a special rapporteur for the UN looking into Myanmar’s human rights situation. He told a news conference that the world is looking to Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for leadership to address the problem in Myanmar.

Andrews said, “I came to Indonesia because the human rights situation in Myanmar is dire and getting worse, and because I believe that Indonesia is positioned to play a critical role in the resolution of this crisis.”

He claimed that the five-point peace plan agreed to by ASEAN and Myanmar’s military commanders after they overthrew the government in a coup in 2021 had made little progress. Additionally, he stated that the ASEAN should refrain from inviting members of the Myanmar military to high-level diplomatic gatherings, lest it risk going backwards by endorsing the junta.

The UN Secretary-General’s deputy spokesperson was later asked about Andrews’ assessment, answering:

We will leave the decisions on how ASEAN deals with the junta up to the member States of ASEAN themselves.  And we respect their right to work collectively to find what the best solution is for relationships with Myanmar.  From our standpoint, we have never tried to legitimize the rule of the junta, even though as you’re aware, we have also been in contact with the de facto authorities.

The crisis in Myanmar started in February 2021, when the military overthrew then-State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected administration. Widespread public protests over the takeover were met with harsh repression by security forces, which sparked an armed backlash.