ASEAN needs a new vision.
The peoples of ASEAN aspire to a peaceful, democratic region that respects human rights. ASEAN governments are failing to effectively address the unfolding Myanmar crisis. While the brave pro-democracy protestors of Myanmar are being killed by the military junta, all other ASEAN governments are demonstrating a lack of political will and unity to pressure the military junta to end the killings.
The events in Myanmar display, yet again, the impotence of ASEAN governments in dealing with a regional crisis. For decades, ASEAN governments have consistently failed to protect their peoples from one crisis to another, including transnational haze pollution, the Rohingya humanitarian disaster, and a multitude of anti-democratic and human rights abuses.
At the heart of the matter, ASEAN governments have been handicapped by the self-imposed doctrine of non-interference. This doctrine may have been needed in the past, but it has since become a major hindrance and stumbling block to the development of participatory democracies and the protection of the basic rights of the peoples of ASEAN.
We, the undersigned demand our respective ASEAN governments abandon the old doctrine of non-interference and pursue a new approach of constructive and critical engagement, with the option of imposing trade and economic sanctions on the Myanmar military junta.
All other ASEAN governments must unite and send an unequivocal message to the Myanmar military junta to immediately free all political prisoners,to restore the political situation in Myanmar to that prior to the 1st February 2021 coup and to respect the people’s votes in the November 2020 general election.
All those responsible for the killing of innocent people must also be prosecuted and brought to justice. Failing which, all other ASEAN governments must unite and suspend Myanmar’s membership of ASEAN and thereafter impose targeted trade and economic sanctions against the military junta and their associates.
Leader of the Opposition Cambodia
Dr Fadli Zon
MP and Former Deputy Speaker Indonesia
Leader of the Opposition Malaysia
Senator and Chair of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats Philippines
Former MP and Deputy Speaker Singapore
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Thailand