Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Rights groups call on ASEAN to step up efforts to stop violence

International and regional human rights groups urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take immediate action in Burma on April 24. This comes two years after Min Aung Hlaing agreed to abide by the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, which calls for the immediate end of violence in Burma, political dialogue, and humanitarian assistance to be delivered. An ASEAN special envoy to engage with stakeholders in Burma should also be appointed. Amnesty International criticized ASEAN and called for the regional bloc to take greater action. “ASEAN leaders must step up and address the situation in Myanmar without further delay.” Amnesty International recommends that ASEAN call on the regime to halt its airstrikes, release all political prisoners, lift internet blackouts, and give the Rohingya freedom of movement. 

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) echoed the Amnesty International statement. “The recent airstrikes in the Sagaing Region, which killed hundreds of civilians, including children, are further evidence that the Myanmar junta is completely unwilling and incapable  of adhering to the Five-Point Consensus,” said Mercy Barends, the APHR chairperson. “It is clear that ASEAN needs to negotiate a new agreement that includes the National Unity Government and the representatives of ethnic minorities while providing clear enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the agreement is upheld,” said Charles Santiago, the APHR co-chair. Burma’s crisis has further deteriorated since the adoption of the Five-Point Consensus in 2021 as armed conflict has intensified. At least 17,570 people are currently detained, while over 3,427 people have been killed by the junta, states the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Airstrikes on Pa Zi Gyi village of Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region April 11 killed 170 people, including several children.

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