ASEAN urged to invite Myanmar unity gov’t to summit


JAKARTA, Indonesia 

Myanmar human rights activist Khin Sandar said Monday that the National Unity Government (NUG) needs to be invited to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit scheduled for April 24 in Indonesia. 

The NUG was formed by opponents of Myanmar’s junta, including ousted members of parliament and leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities.

Khin, the spokesperson for the General Strike Collaboration Committee protest group, questioned why Southeast Asian leaders invited Myanmar’s junta instead of the NUG.

“You must not ignore the voice of the people. The NUG is the voice of the people,” Khin said in a joint press conference with the Milk Tea Alliance of pro-democracy movements in Asian countries.

She asked ASEAN leaders to reconsider to give the NUG a seat during the coming crisis talks.

Johnson Yeung, a Hong Kong pro-democracy social activist, criticized the invitation for Myanmar’s junta, saying it could be considered as recognition of the military rulers that seized power in a February coup.

He stressed that ASEAN has a responsibility to address their violations and pointed out their wrongdoings.

Some ASEAN members including Indonesia have been pushing for a special summit on the Myanmar crisis.

Earlier this month, this year’s ASEAN chair, Brunei, said the planned meeting would be held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, where the ASEAN Secretariat is located.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta carried out a coup under the pretext of widespread election fraud after Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won the general election by a landslide.

In response to the coup, civilian groups across the country launched a campaign of defiance with mass demonstrations and sit-ins in the streets.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) confirmed Sunday that at least 737 people have died during brutal crackdowns by Myanmar forces since February. Meanwhile, a total of 3,229 people have been detained.


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