Indonesia and ASEAN Should Reject the Myanmar Junta Regime and Their Visit to Jakarta

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) would like to urge the Indonesian government to make a firm position to reject Myanmar Junta Military regime as well as their visit to Jakarta to attend the ASEAN Summit which will be held on April 24, 2021. This was believed to be considered as an act of normalizing and accepting the ruthless Myanmar’s military regime and such a threat to human rights principles as a whole.

The military coup that toppled Myanmar’s democratically-elected government, National League of Democracy (NLD) which alleged to have won the election by fraud according to the military regime (Tatmadaw), though little evidence was found. Starting from the beginning of the coup, Tatmadaw had caught and detained several Myanmar political figures, including the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint with no clear reason and allegations of their detaining. Ever since the coup was initiated, several human rights principles have been violated– arresting, detaining, but not limited to torturing and killing. This shows the serious situation and conditions that are faced by the people of Myanmar. Some public facilities are also being occupied by the military and civilians who disobey will be punished by the regime. The junta regime also has had to disconnect the flow of information from social media and the internet so that the people couldn’t access and exchange information of what’s happening in the field. Some pressure was also made by the regime to those who opposed their orders, including Myanmar representative to the United Nations.

After the announcement of the upcoming ASEAN Summit on April 24, 2021, ASEAN Member states, including Indonesia, have announced that they will do an open dialogue discussing the situation in Myanmar, including the arrival of the Tatmadaw leader, Min Aung Hlaing to the summit. This raised our concern as this is believed as an implicit act of legitimizing the junta military regime. collective consensus yet haven’t been made by the state members as there are several different opinions and stances amongst the members. Different political views on this coup makes it hard for ASEAN to reach collective measure to look onto this crisis. This can be seen as ASEAN’s failure towards their commitment to achieve a stable and peaceful region. We are concerned that the outcome of the Summit can’t reach an immediate and meaningful yet serious intervention action to bring stability to Myanmar. This includes the visit of the illegitimate military junta and giving them a seat to represent Myanmar. This act could be a threat towards the relationship not only between each member state and Myanmar, but also towards ASEAN as a whole. This too could impose a greater threat for democracy and human rights as a whole in the region. The seat of Myanmar at the Summit should be represented by the democratically-elected government instead of the leader of the coup. We believe that it is an essential and wise move for the member states to act accordingly.

Indonesia’s position as a member of the Human Rights Council of the UN, too, should be questioned. As a member of this council, Indonesia should put human rights values more than anything, because it has a mandate and a responsibility to do so. Indonesia should comply to this and play their role too to carry out and put more attention to this crisis. It is a privilege for Indonesia to be a part of the Council, and therefore Indonesia should contribute more.The tragedy in Myanmar is not only a matter of domestic, but also regional and international. All party should be involved in any means to solve and put this condition to an end. Indonesia’s lack of concern towards Myanmar is seen not only within the Human Rights Council, but also within the ASEAN itself, as it is just only responding to the crisis two months later from the beginning of the coup. As ASEAN’s late action on this, it shows the passivity of the organization. Not only that, but also It somehow leaves the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) irrelevant on its implementation because it is not being considered as the way it supposed to be. The AHRD was made to ensure the security of the region, including every single citizen within. With this being indirectly abandoned and forgotten, ASEAN will lose its power, even more, its legitimacy on upholding human rights values. The whole world is watching, yet no responsive step has been made.

Solving the conflict in Myanmar is a crucial event for ASEAN to show their willingness and commitment on democracy, human rights, and also peace and prosperity of the region. For the Summit to be fruitful and effective platform, therefore we call on the leaders of ASEAN to conduct the following:

– Reject the presence of illegitimate military junta regime as the representative of Myanmar in the Summit;

 – Give the seat of Myanmar in the Summit to the National Unity Government (NUG) as the legitimate and democratically-elected government of Myanmar; 

– Establish a solid and coordinated response between ASEAN as a regional organization and the United Nations Security Council and United Nations Human Rights Council as the highest actor in the international fora to envoy a special delegation to Myanmar to independently monitor the situation–stopping the violence and help as a mediator to negotiate a solution which uphold democratic and human rights values; 

– Fully support the international community to impose global arms embargo to Myanmar, as well as targeting economic sanctions against the military regime and those who are related and refer Myanmar situation to ICC; 

– Ensuring access for humanitarian aid and health support to all affected areas in Myanmar including humanitarian air corridors within borders; 

– Putting the safety, security, and wellbeing of the people of Myanmar, including asylum seekers and refugees, including the Rohingya as one of its priorities; 

– Take the very most substantial measure against Myanmar, including to temporarily suspend its membership to ASEAN for its failure to uphold the principle of democracy and human rights. The organization shall only lift suspension of the sanction if the military junta regime accepts the authority of NUG and places itself under the NUG as the only legitimate government of Myanmar; 

– Bring military junta to the ICC until democracy is fully restored; 

– Strengthen the authority of AICHR to solve and take immediate action as how it was mandated to. AICHR needs a stronger power to tackle further human rights issues.

Jakarta, April 21, 2021.


Fatia Maulidiyanti

Executive Coordinator