Myanmar’s Ousted MPs Condemn ASEAN for Inviting Junta to Parliamentary Summit

By The Irrawaddy 23 August 2021

Myanmar’s committee of ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) parliamentarians has condemned ASEAN for excluding it from the regional body’s Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and inviting a junta representative as an observer instead.

On Saturday, representatives from ASEAN’s parliaments convened for the 42nd assembly in Brunei. The meeting lasts until Wednesday.

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) or CRPH was formed mostly by NLD lawmakers after the military coup in February. In April they formed the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), claiming to be the legitimate civilian government of Myanmar. Since their formation, both the CRPH and NUG have received huge popular support at home but struggle to gain international recognition despite engaging with other countries, including the US.

It is not the first time ASEAN has refused to recognize Myanmar’s democratic representatives. In April, the NUG’s representative was not invited to ASEAN’s special summit on Myanmar. Instead, the junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, attended the meeting where ASEAN set out five points to resolve Myanmar’s turmoil.

The CRPH on Sunday said the AIPA president, who also is the speaker of the Brunei Legislative Council, ignored its letter of nomination and approved the junta’s representative as an observer at the meeting. Last month, Myanmar’s junta revoked the 2020 election results and Min Aung Hlaing installed himself as prime minister earlier this month.

The CRPH said the APIA’s action “has steered the ASEAN parliamentary family on an undemocratic and unrepresentative course … choosing dictatorship over democracy … cowardice over political principles”.

The CRPH asked other ASEAN parliamentary delegates at this week’s assembly to call for the inclusion of Myanmar’s delegation.

ASEAN’s recognition is seen as important to establish the NUG’s legitimacy. ASEAN is yet to officially recognized the regime.

The CRPH said the exclusion of Myanmar’s delegation “will grievously impugn AIPA’s parliamentary independence and its standing among the global family of parliaments”.

Myanmar’s people condemned ASEAN online. “We have no trust in you,” said a comment.

Another said: “ASEAN is under influence and is biased. It should respect democracy and the elected government.”

Early this month, ASEAN appointed Brunei’s deputy foreign affairs minister, Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy to Myanmar. However, there is little hope ASEAN will work effectively to resolve the crisis.

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