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18th March 2024 (11 Topics)

The Myanmar conflict is a regional problem

Context:

Three years after the military coup in Myanmar in 2021, the situation in the country remains dire, with ongoing conflict, displacement of millions, and suppression of independent media.

The Situation on the Ground:

  • Suppression of media: Following the coup, independent media outlets in Myanmar faced severe repression, leading to the exodus of journalists seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
  • Security threats: The conflict has not only affected Myanmar citizens but also destabilized the entire region, posing security threats and humanitarian challenges to neighboring countries.
  • Collapse of rule of law in Myanmar has given rise to increased criminal activities, further exacerbating the challenges faced by both Myanmar and its neighboring countries.

ASEAN's Struggle for Stability:

  • ASEAN’s role: International stakeholders, including the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, have looked to ASEAN to play a leading role in resolving the conflict in Myanmar.
  • Constant escalation: Despite ASEAN's efforts, including a five-point consensus, the conflict has escalated over the past three years, with the emergence of numerous resistance groups.
  • Comprehensive approach: The failure to achieve substantive progress in resolving the conflict underscores the need for a comprehensive approach focused on achieving democratic governance in Myanmar and ensuring stability in the region.

The Independent Media's Resilience:

  • Ground reporting: Despite facing violence and intimidation, Myanmar's independent media continues to report on the ground, operating primarily from neighboring countries.
  • Independent Press Council: Efforts are underway to establish an Independent Press Council to counter the state-controlled Myanmar Press Council and uphold press freedom.
  • Peace: As policymakers grapple with finding a solution to the conflict, it is crucial to prioritize support for independent media and the aspirations of the Myanmar people for a peaceful, stable, and democratic post-junta Myanmar.
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