The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a foreign ministers meeting on Wednesday in the capital city of Indonesia to form a consensus over how to deal with the situation in Myanmar. Ministers condemned the junta’s continued human rights violations and reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to bringing about reconciliation.
In a statement issued after the completion of the meeting, ASEAN foreign ministers said:
We strongly condemned the continued acts of violence, including air strikes, artillery shelling, and destruction of public facilities and urged all parties involved to take concrete action to immediately halt indiscriminate violence, denounce any escalation, and create a conducive environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and inclusive national dialogue.
In June, the UN urged ASEAN to take necessary steps to end the crisis in Myanmar. Myanmar is one of ASEAN’s ten members. Since the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, ASEAN has taken measures to mitigate the crisis by proposing the “Five-Point Consensus [5PC].” In June, the UN, through Tom Andrews, who serves a special rapporteur for the UN looking into Myanmar’s human rights situation, stated the two-year-old peace process has made marginal to no progress in resolving the conflict in Myanmar.
That said, during Wednesday’s meeting ASEAN foreign ministers again reaffirmed their commitment to the consensus and said, “[A]ny effort should support, in line with 5PC and in coordination with…ASEAN.” Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi underscored this in comments to the press when she said, “[W]ithout cessation of violence, there would never be a conducive environment needed for the start of dialogue and the delivery of aid.”
Myanmar representatives were not present at Wednesday’s meeting.
It has been almost two and half years since the military coup in Myanmar. To mark the two year anniversary, a JURIST correspondent from Myanmar wrote of the nationwide silent protest, “The solidarity and resilience of Myanmar people is going strong to this day. In these past two years, Myanmar people have come to a deep and unbreakable realisation that they are the source of power in this democratic society and they demonstrate this again and again by protesting on the streets, banging pots and now, the loudest silence.”
The UN reported that the current crisis has displaced some 1.5 million people. Since the coup, there have been reports that the junta has tortured, made arbitrary arrests of over 16,000 pro-democracy protestors, resorted to sexual violence, and was responsible for the custodial deaths of at least 273 people.