^
Myanmar violence must end, democracy be restored â Indonesia president
This handout photograph taken on April 24, 2021 and released by the Indonesian Presidential Palace shows Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivering his speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myannmar crisis talks in Jakarta.
AFP/Indonesian Presidential Palace

Myanmar violence must end, democracy be restored — Indonesia president

(Agence France-Presse) - April 26, 2021 - 7:38am

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Myanmar's military must restore democracy and stop the violence against citizens, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said after crisis talks with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and Southeast Asian leaders Saturday.

The strongly worded comments followed a meeting in Jakarta of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was the senior Myanmar general's first foreign trip since security forces staged a coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in early February.

Min Aung Hlaing has become the focus of international outrage over the coup and a subsequent crackdown on dissent that has left more than 700 dead.

"The first requested commitment is for the Myanmar military to stop the use of violence and that all parties there at the same time must refrain so that tensions can be reduced," Widodo said Saturday.

"The violence must be stopped and democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be restored."

He also called for the release of political prisoners and for a special envoy to be allowed into the crisis-hit nation to "push for dialogue".

Min Aung Hlaing did not make a formal public statement. 

But Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, who called for the release of Suu Kyi from house arrest, said the junta leader "heard us". 

"He was not opposed to ASEAN playing a constructive role, or an ASEAN delegation visit, or humanitarian assistance, and that they would move forward and engage with ASEAN in a constructive way," Lee told reporters, citing the general's comments at the meeting.

'Murderer-in-chief'

Saturday's talks follow mass protests which have been met by a brutal crackdown that has left hundreds dead.

An estimated 250,000 people have been displaced, according to a UN envoy, with Myanmar's democratically elected leaders in hiding or under house arrest.

Also at the weekend meeting was the Sultan of Brunei, the current chair of ASEAN, as well as leaders and foreign ministers from most of the 10-country group, including Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos.

Small protests outside the bloc's Jakarta headquarters were dispersed by security personnel.

In Myanmar, protesters continued to take to the streets Saturday, including in northern Kachin state, where demonstrators wore blue shirts to symbolise detainees.

In commercial hub Yangon, some residents staged a mock funeral for the senior general by smashing saffron-coloured clay pots on the ground, symbolic of cutting ties with the dead.

The general's involvement in the Jakarta talks has angered activists, human rights groups and a shadow government of ousted Myanmar lawmakers, which was not invited to the gathering.

"Meetings that contribute to a solution to the deepening crisis in Myanmar are welcome," the shadow administration said in a statement. 

"(But) meetings that exclude the people of Myanmar but include murderer-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing... are unlikely to be helpful." 

The lawmakers called on the junta to "stop murdering civilians", release more than 3,000 political prisoners and return power to the country's democratically elected government. 

"The crisis initiated by a murderous and unrepentant Myanmar military has engulfed the country, and will cause severe aftershocks -- humanitarian and more -- for the entire region," rights group Amnesty International said ahead of the meeting.

'Be realistic'

There have also been calls for the regional bloc to expel Myanmar.

But ASEAN has previously taken a mostly hands-off approach to members' internal affairs.

Few analysts had expected major breakthroughs from the meeting, saying instead it was a chance to bring Myanmar's military to the bargaining table and pave the way for a possible resolution.

"We have to be realistic here. I don't think the summit is going to bear out a full-blown plan on how to get Myanmar out of the conflict," Mustafa Izzuddin, senior international affairs analyst at Solaris Strategies Singapore, said before the talks.

"But rather I think it will start the conversation and perhaps lay the parameters as to how a resolution could be found."

The crisis engulfing Myanmar has delivered a major challenge to the future of the ASEAN bloc and its consensus-driven approach.

"International eyes are on (it) to see whether the regional approach that ASEAN has taken to find a resolution in Myanmar is effective," Izzuddin said.

ASEAN ASEAN SUMMIT AUNG SAN SUU KYI INDONESIA JOKO WIDODO MYANMAR
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2021 - 8:05am

Follow this thread for updates on the situation in Myanmar, where a coup may be happening after de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials have reportedly been detained by the military.

Photo: Military officers wearing facemasks who serve as members of Myanmar's parliament leave after a session at the Assembly of the Union (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) in Naypyidaw on March 10, 2020. AFP/Ye Aung Thu

June 15, 2021 - 8:05am

Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired after the February coup, has called for "effective collective measures" against the junta, ahead of expected Security Council talks on the situation.

"It is most urgent that the international community take effective collective measures to prevent any possible crimes against humanity from happening and the emergence of a potential regional humanitarian crisis," Kyaw Moe Tun wrote in a letter to the world body dated May 28 and published on Monday.

"Strong, decisive and unified measures are imperative and needed immediately," he wrote. 

"The lack of such actions by the international community will further encourage the military to continue committing inhumane and brutal acts against civilians and will result in the further loss of lives of innocent civilians in Myanmar."

Kyaw Moe Tun has passionately rejected the February 1 coup and brushed aside the junta's claims that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him as the rightful envoy. — AFP

June 14, 2021 - 5:49pm

A US journalist detained in Myanmar since March was released on Monday after charges against him were dropped, his lawyer says.

US citizen Nathan Maung "was released this morning from Insein prison as the police withdrew the charges against him", and will fly back to the US on Tuesday, his lawyer Tin Zar Oo toells AFP.

Maung, who founded local outlet Kamayut Media, had faced charges under a colonial-era law that criminalises encouraging dissent against the military, she adds. —  AFP

June 10, 2021 - 11:54am

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with fresh corruption charges, state-run media reports Thursday. 

The Anti-Corruption Commission found evidence that she had committed "corruption using her rank", according to the Global New Light of Myanmar. "So she was charged under Anti-Corruption Law section 55." — AFP

June 7, 2021 - 3:24pm

The trial of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will hear its first testimony from next Monday, her lawyer tells AFP Monday. 

"We will get testimonies from plaintiff and witnesses starting from next hearing," scheduled for Monday June 14, lawyer Min Min Soe says after a meeting with the detained Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyidaw. —  AFP

June 1, 2021 - 10:52am

Schools in Myanmar will open on Tuesday for the first time since the military seized power, but teachers and students are set to defy the junta's calls for full classrooms in a show of resistance.

Four months of national turmoil have followed the February ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with more than 800 people killed by security forces and a nationwide strike crippling the economy.

Public school teachers — dressed in the green and white uniforms mandated by the education ministry — were prominent in the early mass protests, joining railway workers, doctors and civil servants on the streets. — AFP

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with