Reflecting on the ASEAN Summit: Opportunities and Needs — Expert Panel Discussion

October 29th, 2021  •  Category Events

Min Aung Hlaing and his illegal junta are increasingly isolated and desperate, nine months after attempting an unconstitutional coup d’état in Myanmar. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has excluded Min Aung Hlaing from the upcoming ASEAN Summit and condemned his failure to hold to the 5-point consensus. It is an unexpected and decisive stand by ASEAN that underlines the failure of Min Aung Hlaing to consolidate the coup and reflects a wider international rejection of the junta. ASEAN now acknowledges the NUG and CRPH as established political entities.

At the same time, the military’s scorched earth clearance operations are tearing through the country, destroying lives. Troop movements and telecommunications shutdowns indicate that a massive clearance operation in the northwest of Myanmar is imminent, in Sagaing, Magwe and Chin.  The coming military offensive is expected to be on a scale not seen since those of northern Rakhine in 2017. The humanitarian impact would be enormous. Points one and four of the ASEAN 5-point consensus are the cessation of violence and provision of humanitarian assistance. But the consensus is almost fatally flawed if Min Aung Hlaing is allowed to hold the key to its implementation; the junta is drastically escalating violence and is well-adept at manipulating humanitarian needs and blocking humanitarian access to advance a violent political agenda.

Our expert panel is moderated by SAC-M founding member and former UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. To reflect on the outcomes of the ASEAN summit and discuss the opportunities and needs presented at this key moment in time, Yanghee Lee is joined on the panel by Her Excellency Daw Zin Mar Aung, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman, SAC-M founding member and former Chair of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and a civil society representative from Chin State.