[Media Lines] FORUM-ASIA’s response to today’s ASEAN Summit on Myanmar: Failure in addressing the Myanmar crisis is a failure to uphold human rights and democracy in the region
24 April 2021 5:50 pm

In response to the Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar held today, FORUM-ASIA Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said:

ASEAN’s failure to address the crisis in Myanmar is a failure to uphold the principles of democracy and human rights in the region.

Turning what was set to be a Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar into an ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting dilutes the gravity of gross violations perpetrated by the military junta.

By giving Min Aung Hlaing a seat at the table, ASEAN risks legitimising a military junta that wrestled power from Myanmar’s democratically elected National Unity Government.

ASEAN can only conduct meaningful dialogue with a legitimate government, and not with the military junta led by Min Aung Hlaing who stands accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

While the peoples in Myanmar and across the region are demanding immediate and sustained action to put an end to the violence, ASEAN remains unwilling and incapable of heeding these calls. ASEAN must listen to the will of its peoples if it is to remain credible and relevant to the region. 

FORUM-ASIA rejects the presence of an illegitimate military junta as the representative of Myanmar in the Leaders’ meeting, calls on ASEAN to engage with the peoples of Myanmar and align its efforts with the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council to put an end to the violence conducted by the junta and to facilitate the establishment of peace and democracy in Myanmar.

FORUM-ASIA condemns the harassment and arrests of peaceful protesters in Indonesia  during the Leaders’ meeting today, and calls on ASEAN to respect the rights of all to have their voices heard.  

Since the 1 February coup in Myanmar that has killed at least 745 people at press time, ASEAN’s responses so far have yet to bring significant improvement to the situation of human rights and democracy on the ground. It is imperative for ASEAN to find an immediate and meaningful solution aligned with the will of the peoples of Myanmar.


FORUM-ASIA and the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) will hold a special press briefing on Monday to discuss the outcomes/deliberations of the ASEAN Leaders Meeting and what this means to democracy in the region.