Myanmar civil society groups reject Asean envoy

Asean foreign ministers appointed Brunei's second minister for foreign affairs, Dato Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy to Myanmar.
Asean foreign ministers appointed Brunei's second minister for foreign affairs, Dato Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy to Myanmar.PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (REUTERS) - Hundreds of Myanmar civil society groups on Friday (Aug 6) rejected the appointment of a special envoy by the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), saying the regional organisation should have consulted opponents of the ruling junta and other parties.

Asean foreign ministers on Wednesday appointed Brunei's second minister for foreign affairs, Dato Erywan Yusof, as a special envoy to Myanmar to try to resolve the crisis in Myanmar by opening dialogue and overseeing humanitarian aid.

"The Myanmar CSOs (civil society organisations) express deep disappointment with Asean and their lack of inclusive decision-making process and inaction in the face of some of the most heinous crimes committed in the region," a statement from 413 groups said.

Neither Asean secretariat nor the Brunei foreign ministry made any immediate comment. The military government did not respond to a request for comment.

The Myanmar groups said that a National Unity Government set up by opponents of the junta should also have been consulted about the appointment. It has not yet made any comment on the naming of the envoy itself.

The government headed by army chief and prime minister Min Aung Hlaing has approved the appointment, state-controlled media have reported.

Myanmar has been in political turmoil since the army overthrew the elected civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1.

Hundreds of people have been killed as the military cracked down on opposition protests, and in clashes between soldiers and local people's defence forces which are lightly armed and often hastily assembled.