UN expert calls for different approach to solving Myanmar crisis

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An independent expert working with the United Nations on the issue of human rights in Myanmar on Wednesday urged the international community to find a different approach to resolving the crisis in the Southeast Asian country. Is indicating the current course of action does not work.

Tom Andrews, a special rapporteur working with the UN human rights office, told a press conference in Jakarta that the world was looking to Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asia to lead the situation in Myanmar.

“I came to Indonesia because the human rights situation in Myanmar is dire and worsening, and because I believe Indonesia is well placed to play a vital role in resolving this crisis,” Andrews said after meeting with Indonesian and ASEAN officials.

Myanmar’s crisis began after its army in February 2021 seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The takeover sparked widespread public protests, whose violent crackdown by security forces sparked armed resistance that now spans much of the country.

Andrews, a former US congressman, said the situation in Myanmar was also losing visibility outside the country.

He said the Myanmar military had killed more than 3,600 civilians since the crisis began, while more than 19,000 people had been imprisoned as political prisoners.

ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, agreed two years ago to a five-point plan that includes a call for an immediate end to killings and other violence and the start of a national dialogue. Myanmar’s military rulers initially agreed to the plan, but made little effort to implement it.

Andrews said the 10-member regional bloc should not invite the junta to any of its meetings and should not allow Myanmar military personnel to participate in defense meetings.

“I can’t help feeling that there are two different time zones when it comes to ASEAN and the Myanmar crisis: one being the reality of the people of Myanmar who are facing attacks daily life of the junta forces and under rapidly deteriorating conditions. The other is the world of ASEAN officials warning that progress could take years or even decades,” he said.

“The people of Myanmar are not decades old. They need a strong international response to the crisis unfolding in the same ‘time zone’ as the brutal attacks they are facing,” he said.

Special rapporteurs work with the United Nations human rights office in Geneva based on mandates from the UN-backed Human Rights Council, a 47-member body that currently includes China and Russia among its members.

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