ASEAN meeting with Myanmar fails to create progress – The Organization for World Peace

On March 20, the ASEAN special envoy met with Myanmar junta officials as part of the implementation of the five-point consensus. The purpose of the three-day visit was to negotiate an end to the violence by obtaining concessions from the army. However, Prak Sohkonn, Cambodia’s special envoy and foreign minister, could not get important demands met. This was partly due to Sohkonn’s inability to meet with all parties involved; originally he wanted to meet with the National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow government made up of NLD leaders. However, as the junta declared them “terrorists”, they did not allow Sohkonn to meet with the NUG. Moreover, the recent meeting was only allowed after the condition of meeting Aung San Suu Kyi was dropped.

Sohkonn, however, feels optimistic about his visit, saying, “He had gleaned various information about the situation in Myanmar during the mission, including the many reasons behind the difference of opinions and positions among the parties involved.” , according to The Diplomat. During his visit, he had three urgent priorities: “Take action to end the violence, facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid and create an environment conducive to trust. »

While Myanmar is finally attracting the attention of countries other than itself, there is still much to do. ASEAN has been incredibly slow to implement the five-point consensus; it took months to simply choose the special envoy and then negotiate a meeting with the junta. As for the international community, the contrast between its response to the Myanmar crisis and others like Ukraine is stark. During protests last year, the Burmese people repeatedly called for respect for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), an international standard endorsed by all UN member states. However, nothing more has been done other than sanctions, which do not stop the junta from terrorizing the citizens of Myanmar.

A delicate balance exists between respecting sovereignty and protecting human rights. However, in the case of Myanmar, it is clear that the time for the international community to respect Myanmar’s sovereignty is over and the time for action was yesterday. R2P states that if countries fail to protect their citizens, the UN has a responsibility to intervene and can violate state sovereignty if necessary. According to the Global Centre, R2P has been invoked in more than 80 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been instrumental in stopping violence in several cases such as Kenya and Sierra Leone. However, political ties and dependence on resources prevent major countries from intervening against the Burmese junta. Russia is a longtime friend of the country, providing arms and training to the military. China-Myanmar relations are complicated; many interpret the situation as China trying to establish a puppet government. Even so, China has always remained friendly with the junta and is one of the country’s closest allies, also supplying weapons. Russia and China blocked a statement of condemnation a day after the coup.

The future of Myanmar’s democracy depends on the international community’s willingness to help. The country, whose citizens continue to protest, does not have the resources to overthrow the army on its own. China and Russia should not veto a UN condemnation ahead of a resolution, by which greater sanctions will be applied to the military government. In addition, the Council should freeze the assets of the military leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court so that the Court has jurisdiction over all crimes committed against the Burmese people, wherever or wherever. the group. Taking all these steps will put pressure on the junta and force it to respond by stepping down or holding elections, hoping that Myanmar will return to the thriving democracy it once was.

Aubrey L. Morgan