STATEMENT – 24 April 2021
Statement by the Burma Solidarity Philippines on the Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar
ASEAN must expel the junta from the summit and recognize the Myanmar National Unity Government
We, members of various civil society and solidarity organizations belonging to the Burma Solidarity Philippines coalition, today extend our heartfelt solidarity to the peoples of Burma/Myanmar in their continuing quest for genuine democracy, peace, and social justice.
According to the latest tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), since the February 1 military putsch, where the indiscriminate use of brute military force against peaceful demonstrators has been routinized and violation of human rights has been committed in various parts of the country, 3,000 people including journalists have been arrested in violent crackdowns by security forces, more than 700 protesters have been killed, and at least 80 more were killed on April 9.
Today, on the occasion of the ‘Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar’, we register our strongest condemnation of the ASEAN welcoming the representative from the military junta of Myanmar.
By providing a seat during this special summit to the military junta of Myanmar led by its brutal dictator General Ming Aung Hlaing and his cohorts, ASEAN lends legitimacy to the junta’s illegal power grab that resulted to human rights violations perpetrated against the peoples of Myanmar.
ASEAN Member States’ differing position on the Myanmar crisis, implying its long-held policy of non-interference and constructive engagement had only made ASEAN incompetent to reach a consensus, leading to its inaction and dribbling of its responsibility as an inter-governmental body. Therefore, ASEAN must now act decisively to ensure that the junta ends the violence and return the state power to the democratically-elected civilian government.
Solidarity movements like Burma Solidarity Philippines have been calling out the ASEAN to swiftly act and do something to de-escalate the political crisis which has now become a full-blown human rights crisis, and ‘to save the peoples of Myanmar’ from the onslaught of its errant member Myanmar under its coup rulers.
Instead of providing a seat to the illegitimate junta leader of Myanmar, we urge the ASEAN to formally recognize and invite a representative from Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) composed of the democratically-elected representatives.
We also call on the ASEAN to declare during the summit its outright rejection of the State Administration Council (SAC) chaired and formed by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. SAC is accountable for committing serious human rights violations since the coup. With that, Gen. Hlaing and his SAC do not represent the interest of the peoples of Burma/Myanmar.
If ASEAN wants to contribute to resolving the political crisis in Myanmar and ensure access to humanitarian aid for the affected population, it should amplify the call of the peoples of Myanmar by rejecting the junta in the summit, otherwise, this will only embolden the junta’s continued wanton disregard for human rights, and tantamount to ASEAN condoning and becoming complicit of the junta’s murderous actions. Sharing a seat with the junta on the summit will be reflective of the ASEAN’s failure to fulfill its commitment towards a people-oriented, people-centered community as embodied in its ASEAN 2025 vision.
Today, in the spirit of solidarity, we urge the ASEAN and all participants to the ‘Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar’ to heed the following demands:
- Expel the representative of the Myanmar junta from the Special ASEAN Summit
- Declare support to and recognize Myanmar’s democratically-elected National Unity Government (NUG)
- Reject the State Administration Council (SAC)
- Demand accountability and probe the killings of more than 700 activists in Myanmar and call on the junta to immediately stop the use of violence against the protesters and unconditionally release more than 3,000 arbitrarily arrested and detained activists
- Help ensure safe and full access of conflict-affected population to humanitarian aid and healthcare
- Find solutions to immediately lift restrictions on internet, communication, and access to information in Myanmar
- For all member-states of ASEAN to abide by the principle of non-refoulement guarantees, under International Human Rights Law to provide full protection to refugees and asylum seekers including the Rohingya and other ethnic nationalities in Myanmar.
Lastly, we urge the Philippine representative to the ASEAN special summit to support and echo the demands of various solidarity groups calling for the peaceful turnover of state power to the democratically-elected government of Myanmar and for the return of democracy, peace, and social justice in the said country.
Today, the Burma Solidarity Philippines stands united with the peoples of Burma/Myanmar. We demand that the Philippine government and ASEAN do the same. ###
For inquiries: Gani Abunda: 09613567397; firstname.lastname@example.org