NUG Questions ASEAN’s Ceasefire Agreement With Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 6 September 2021

Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government (NUG) has said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy to the country should have got an agreement from the military regime to cease civilian arrests, as well as an assurance to allow him to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, before calling for a ceasefire to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid.

On Saturday, ASEAN’s special envoy for Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, told Kyodo News that he had proposed a four-month ceasefire until the end of this year to the junta-appointed Foreign Minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, last Tuesday, and that the regime had accepted it.

The Brunei diplomat said that it was not a political ceasefire but to ensure safety, as well as the security of humanitarian workers distributing aid.

Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs, was appointed by ASEAN last month as a special envoy to Myanmar, as the regional bloc steps up its efforts to end the violence in Myanmar by encouraging dialogue between the regime and its opponents.

But the NUG’s Human Rights Minister, U Aung Myo Min, said that the current turmoil in Myanmar was political, and that humanitarian issues should be dealt with later.

“The human rights violations by the military persist and these abuses should not be forgotten, even though we understand the ASEAN special envoy wants to provide humanitarian assistance quickly and effectively,” said U Aung Myo Min, referring to the regime’s ongoing raids, arrests and killings of anti-coup protesters.

As of Sunday, the junta has killed 1,046 civilians, arrested 7,879 people and issued arrest warrants for another 1,984 people during brutal crackdowns against peaceful pro-democracy protesters. Some 6,230 people are still being detained, including ousted State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, who were both arrested in the early hours of the junta’s February 1 coup.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the military takeover and the ousting of the National League for Democracy government led by Daw Aung Suu Kyi. Armed resistance to the regime by civilian fighters and ethnic armed organizations (EAO’s) has spread to every part of the country, apart from Rakhine State.

On Sunday, the NUG called on the international community to help stop the junta’s crimes against innocent civilians.

The NUG requested that the international community work effectively to stop the military’s operations “as soon as possible, to end the suppression and torture of innocent civilians, and to bring an end to the coup d’état and hold it [the regime] accountable for the crimes it has committed”.

Myanmar junta forces are “waging military offensives with excessive force in EAO-controlled areas”, despite the pledges of the coup leaders and the State Administration Council, the junta’s governing body, that they are working for peace, added the NUG.

The request coincided with the ceasefire call by ASEAN’s special envoy.

Special envoy Erywan Yusof said that the first batch of aid consists of medical equipment that is urgently needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including oxygen compressors and personal protective equipment, and that it will go to “all the people of Myanmar”.

Humanitarian aid bound for border areas controlled by EAO’s may be routed by land via neighbouring Thailand, added the envoy.

Erywan Yusof said that he hopes to visit Myanmar this month and that he had requested a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the military regime has not yet said if he will be allowed to do so.

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