Myanmar Women’s Human Rights Defenders’ Open Letter to the Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM) 2 March 2021
To: Current Chair of ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN Member States (AMS)
We, the women’s human rights defenders of Myanmar recognize that the Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting is scheduled to take place on 2 March 2021.
At this critical meeting to deliberate the issues concerning regional peace, stability, and prosperity, we draw your attention to the situation in Myanmar. Myanmar security force’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors started a few days after 1 February 2021 when the democratically elected government was deposed by a military coup. As demonstrators gathered in large numbers to peacefully express their disapproval and dissent, the security forces have been responding increasingly aggressively.
On 28 February and 1 March, Myanmar security forces escalated their violent actions against protestors including use of tear gas, flashbangs, firearms, warning shots, live gunfire and other harsher police tactics were deployed against peaceful demonstrators. The arrest of an increased number of protestors continues, accompanied by police raids without a search warrant. As of 1 March, 1213 civilians have been arrested, among them, based on the available sex disaggregated data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 285 are female and 802 are male. The sex disaggregation of the remaining 126 arrested persons are yet to be revealed. Reports indicate that due to the security force’s concerted effort to violently disrupt large demonstrations and their indiscriminate shooting into the crowds, even inside homes, from the period of 1 February to 1 March, at least (23) civilian protestor fatalities have been recorded across the country, 3 females and 20 males, according to Voice of Myanmar.
Recognizing that ASEAN’s Theme for 2021 is “We Care, We Prepare, We prosper”, and acknowledging that non-interference in Myanmar is not an option as the lack of peace and stability in Myanmar will not only affect the country, but will affect its neighbour’s political security, economic prosperity and social stability,
we firmly urge ASEAN to seriously consider the following:
Myanmar Women Human Rights Defenders