STATEMENT (9/2022) – “Response to the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar”

May 7, 2022

The National Unity Government (NUG) is deeply disappointed and concerned about the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar on May 6, 2022, in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.

The NUG has repeatedly reached out to the ASEAN chair and the ASEAN Special Envoy to convey our openness to engage and discuss ways forward; however, our previous communication has not been reciprocated until now. The NUG and other crucial stakeholders of Myanmar such as the Ethnic Resistance Groups (EROs) and local humanitarian organizations have been deliberately excluded from the consultative meeting. The outcome of the meeting has put the Myanmar Taskforce led by State Administration Council (SAC) Ko Ko Hlaing at the center of ASEAN humanitarian response. This effectively allows SAC arbitrarily to select regions and states and implementing partners to implement the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Delivery Framework. This process poses a high risk of failure in the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance without discrimination, legitimizing the SAC’s infrastructure, and politicizing humanitarian response by coercing Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) to engage with SAC’s National Solidarity and Peacemaking Negotiations Committee.

The people of Myanmar continued to reject the SAC’s illegitimate authoritarian rule and continuously called for restoring democracy and civilian government. The exclusion of the NUG, EAOs, and local humanitarian organizations in the consultative meeting fundamentally contradicts the principle and conditions set out in the ASEAN Five Point Consensus. The SAC troops have continuously terrorised communities leading to continuous displacement; arbitrarily detaining civilians, activists and leaders of democracy movements; and committing atrocities and war crimes.

The conditions on the ground and the people’s trust deficit in the SAC will continue to hamper urgent and effective delivery of humanitarian aid. With this, the NUG calls on the ASEAN leaders and donors to utilize cross-border networks to deliver humanitarian assistance urgently in a manner not dependent on the SAC’s approval. This is the only way and has been the only way deliver aid to “hard-to-reach” areas since the failed Coup. Furthermore, the NUG calls on the ASEAN leaders and donors to reconsider the UN Special Envoys to Myanmar’s recommendation to prioritize principled engagement with diverse local humanitarian networks to effectively deliver aid to all communities in need without discrimination.

National Unity Government