Press Release

ASEAN MUST ACT ON MYANMAR

We demand Asean not to delay to act on Myanmar to prevent its military repression of its own people and to turn it into a regional conflict.

The betrayal of democracy by the coup should not be allowed to evolve into more bloodeshed of civilians.

The coup is not really a suprise. Democracy was actually functioning marginally even during Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the country’s erstwhile ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), who has done very little to bring about meaningful change since she was designated State Counsellor.

The dismissal of the government by military decree and the imposition of Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, as an unelected ruler, is unlwaful , though it had been planned earlier.

The military only eased the NLD to participate and reclaimed democracy to Myanmar to placate for a reason to lift the western sanctions on Myanmar. However there was no commitment for democracy.

Even Aung San Suu Kyi was subservient to the partial democracy by the military when it comes to the Rohingya issue. She allowed the military to continue the military’s impunity on the Rohingyas.

Suu Kyi has positioned herself to being a mere icon in the party but has done little to reform the government.

While Suu Kyi was hailed to become a de facto leader, she failed misearebly in championing the human rights of millions of citizens who belong to marginalised ethnic groups — like Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya — were excluded from the ballot box.

Despite the celebration of Myanmar’s fledgling democracy, international conglomerates — mostly Western — rushed to Yangon, to cash in on Myanmar’s natural resources, left unexploited because of economic sanctions imposed on the country.

The rush to capitalised on the so called democracy only strengthened the military.

The victory for democracy in Myanmar, was short lived amid a continuos genocide reality by the junta.

Asean cannot dismissed the genocide of the Rohingya, a pogrom of murder, rape and ethnic cleansing,

The junta’s “cleansing” operations of Rohingya Muslims cannot be erased from the history of the so called civil government under Suu Kyi.

The human rights violations in the country and the genocide intensified in 2016-17 which continued unabated. The culpability of Myanmar’s ruling NLD party and of Suu Kyi personally cannot be ignored.

The genocide at the hands of government forces and local militias was not a mere communal violence.

It was a clear violation of international law, the worst ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity to the core.

Asean as an association of groups of 10 countries cannot allow human rights violation to persist in its member states as this will have ramifications in the region.

The rational of non-interference in internal affairs of a member state cannot hold, as its spill over effect on the region is real.

Asean should foresee the cross border impact on the Myanmar situation.

The Rohingya issue is a recurring theme in the international media as hundreds of thousands of refugees were forced to flee, mostly into Bangladesh.

The magnitude of their misery is glaring. Horrific Incidents of rape and murder were documented by the UN and international human rights groups.

The group of 57 Muslim countries, which took a landmark lawsuit accusing Myanmar of genocide was filed at the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2019.

Suu Kyi’s defiance to object international criticism and openly defended her government and military is regretful.

Her testimony at the UN Court in December 2019, which she described the genocidal violence of the Rohingya as “cycles of inter-communal violence going back to the 1940s” is attrocious.

Asean should voice its stance clearly that the return to military rule in Myanmar is objectionable.

However, equally, Asean must insist that Myanmar embraces true democracy for all of its citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.

We demand the military brutal suppression against its own people must cease immediately. The more than 100 people gunned down by the arm forces must be accounted for. Those responsible must be taken to task for the killings of the civilians.

We demand the release of all the political detainees.

The crackdown operation to raid homes to detain the anti coup activists must stop.

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations ( MAPIM )

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