As members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to discuss Myanmar's governance crisis at a summit in Jakarta on Saturday, Amnesty International is calling on the 10-member regional bloc to prioritize protecting human rights and preventing the situation from deteriorating into a human rights and humanitarian crisis.
Amnesty is also urging Indonesia, as the host nation, and other ASEAN member states to investigate Myanmar’s coup leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is expected to attend the summit “on credible allegations of responsibility for crimes against humanity in Myanmar,” the right group said in a statement Friday.
“As a state party to the UN Convention Against Torture, Indonesia has a legal obligation to prosecute or extradite a suspected perpetrator on its territory,” the statement said.
“The Myanmar crisis triggered by the military presents ASEAN with the biggest test in its history. The bloc’s usual commitment to non-interference is a non-starter: this is not an internal matter for Myanmar but a major human rights and humanitarian crisis which is impacting the entire region and beyond,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research Emerlynne Gil said.
“The Indonesian authorities and other ASEAN member states cannot ignore the fact Min Aung Hlaing is suspected of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole,” Gil said.
The military in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, overthrew the country's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in early February, triggering a popular revolt followed by a violent crackdown on protesters and civilians who want a return to democracy.
At least 738 people have been killed by junta security forces since the crackdown began, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Most ASEAN member states say they plan to send representatives other than heads of states to the meeting in Jakarta.
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and top diplomat Don Pramudwinai will attend the summit instead of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The latter told local reporters that "some other countries will also send their foreign ministers."