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ASEAN holds military primarily responsible for violence

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a statement on Sept. 5 condemning the violence in Burma. It reads: “[We] urge the Myanmar Armed Forces in particular, and all related parties concerned in Myanmar to de-escalate violence and stop targeted attacks on civilians, houses and public facilities, such as schools, hospitals, markets, churches and monasteries.”

ASEAN members are in Jakarta, Indonesia Sept. 4-7 for the regional bloc’s final summit of 2023. It added that there has been no progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus that military regime leader Min Aung Hlaing agreed to in April 2021 to end violence in Burma and begin dialogue with all stakeholders. ASEAN decided it would continue using the Five-Point Consensus, which has been criticized by civil society in Burma, as a framework to mediate the political crisis resulting from the 2021 military coup. It upheld its decision from August 2022 to continue to block high level regime officials from attending summits and meetings until substantial progress is made in implementing the Five-Point Consensus.

ASEAN members agreed to establish a committee consisting of previous, current, and future ASEAN chairs to monitor political developments in Burma. This committee will ensure continuity in regional diplomatic efforts to resolve the political crisis. Indonesia is the current chair of ASEAN and Laos will take over in 2024. Malaysia will follow in 2025. ASEAN decided that the Philippines will take over as chair in 2026 instead of Burma. It will then select subsequent chairs based on alphabetical order. This means that Burma will not be able to become ASEAN chair until 2035.

The regime in Naypyidaw condemned the ASEAN statements on Sept. 5, stating that it is in violation of the principle of non-interference. “The Ministry rejects the contents of the ASEAN Leaders’ Review and Decision on the Implementation of the five-point consensus, as the reviews are not objective and decisions are bias [sic] and one-sided,” stated the regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At least 4,043 people have been killed in Burma since the 2021 military coup, states the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

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