Human Lives Human Rights: Rights groups have called on the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to called on him to prioritize human rights action over empty gestures as he prepares to visit Myanmar on 7-8 January.
By breaking ranks with ASEAN’s response to the Myanmar crisis, Hun Sen’s rogue diplomacy may do more harm than good and sending mixed messages to Myanmar’s coup leader General Min Aung Hlaing, who has been blocked from recent high-level ASEAN meetings in a rare rebuke.
Hun Sen should cancel this trip and lead ASEAN to strong action to address the country’s dire human rights situation rather than indulge in empty gestures.
Last April ASEAN’s five-point consensus called for an immediate end to violence and work to expand it further to protect human rights and ensure accountability for abuses.
The nightmare has continued for the 55 million people of Myanmar. Last month security forces were accused of killing and burning more than 30 civilians, including two staff members of the humanitarian aid organization, Save the Children, in eastern Karenni State.
The international community cannot rely on ASEAN alone when it has repeatedly demonstrated that it is unable to take meaningful action to prevent such atrocities from recurring.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to visit Myanmar on 7-8 January, the first head of state to make an official visit to the country since the military seized power in a coup on 1 February 2020.
The trip comes as Cambodia takes over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which rotates each year to one of the bloc’s 10 members. Cambodia was last chair in 2012.
Since seizing power, Myanmar’s military has killed more than 1,400 people and arrested or detained more than 10,000, many of them peaceful protesters. It has also unfairly tried many of Myanmar’s top civilian leaders who were ousted in the coup and sentenced them to lengthy prison sentences. Former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in December in one of many bogus cases against her.