ASEAN’s action on Myanmar
The recent actions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) addressing the Myanmar junta’s ongoing violence and its failure to implement the Five-Point Consensus have drawn attention.
Myanmar has experienced a decline in security and economic stability since the military’s ousting of the democratically elected government in February 2021. ASEAN’s plan, forged in April 2021, aimed to halt the violence and initiate inclusive political dialogue, but the junta continued to violate this consensus. While ASEAN had previously tread lightly, its latest statement following the annual summit in Jakarta indicates a firmer stance. It strongly condemns ongoing acts of violence and directly calls on the armed forces and related parties to cease targeted attacks on civilians. Additionally, ASEAN decided to deny Myanmar the bloc’s chairmanship, which it was set to assume in 2026. The Philippines will now assume this role alphabetically, leaving Myanmar in a lengthy wait.
GS – 02 (International Relations)
- How can ASEAN, along with international partners, contribute to restoring stability and addressing the multifaceted crises in Myanmar while ensuring the military junta’s accountability for its actions? (150 words)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Challenges to the Junta and Escalating Pressures
- Way Forward and Conclusion
Challenges to the Junta and Escalating Pressures:
- The Myanmar military, which initially faced opposition from democratic forces, now confronts escalating pressures, notably due to a civil war. The political opposition has formed a National Unity Government (NUG) with a military wing that has aligned with certain ethnic separatist groups, posing a significant challenge to the junta’s authority. Despite retaining control over most population centers, the military has incurred substantial costs.
- A recent report by United Nations investigators exposed war crimes committed by the military regime, including mass executions and sexual violence. Over two years of conflict have left approximately 18 million people requiring humanitarian aid and displaced two million individuals.
- The military’s indiscriminate attacks have resulted in the deaths of thousands among rebels and civilians alike. Despite employing disproportionate violence, the regime has failed to suppress dissent. In August, the UN Security Council condemned the military for its unrelenting violence. Now, with ASEAN’s decisive action, the junta finds itself increasingly isolated, yet the domestic situation remains precarious. The immediate impact of ASEAN’s tough stance on the regime’s behavior remains uncertain. Nevertheless, ASEAN, holding leverage over Myanmar, must persist in pushing the generals to end violence and initiate discussions. The sole solution to Myanmar’s multifaceted crises lies in the restoration of a legitimate, responsible, and responsive regime.
Way Forward and Conclusion:
In the face of Myanmar’s persisting turmoil and violence, ASEAN’s recent actions signify a shift toward taking a stronger stance against the junta. This presents an opportunity for the international community to apply greater pressure on Myanmar’s military leaders to cease violence and engage in productive dialogue to address the country’s deep-seated issues. While the immediate effects remain uncertain, a unified stance from regional and global actors can contribute to restoring order and paving the way for a more stable and prosperous Myanmar.