ASEAN is correct in condemning the Myanmar junta for its sustained and systematic uses of violence against civilians. It is also a step in the right direction for the bloc to not let such vile regime chair it in 2026. However, the cardinal problem is the group’s utter impotence to do anything to end the violence against civilians including air strikes. ASEAN needs to acknowledge three things:

  • First, the terrorist character of Myanmar military and the coup regime which weaponizes a national military against its own population:
  • Second, it needs to bin its 5-point consensus which has proven a complete failure; and
  • Third, the impossibility of overcoming its internal divisions among autocratic regimes and more liberal regimes.

One avenue of action still open to ASEAN is for Indonesia as chair to use its position to officially designate Myanmar junta as a terrorist organization. That would create a new policy narrative around Myanmar both within the group and internationally.

Maung Zarni

Posted by Maung Zarni

Dr Maung Zarni is a scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30-years of involvement in Burmese political affairs, Zarni has been denounced as an “enemy of the State” for his opposition to the Myanmar genocide. He is the co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering study, "The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas" (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, Spring 2014) and "Reworking the Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar’s State-Directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims" (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2017/18).