Arrest Myanmar leader at summit: activists

·3-min read

Myanmar's parallel government has approached Interpol for the arrest of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing as he travels to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Jakarta.

The National Unity Government (NUG) proclaimed last week also includes politicians from the ousted government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The letter to Interpol said that since junta leader Min Aung Hlaing came to power, more than 700 people have died as a result of brutal force and about 3000 are still in detention.

"As he is a terrorist and criminal, he should get investigated at both the ICJ (International Court of Justice) and ICC (International Criminal Court)," the letter from the NUG said.

ASEAN's leaders are scheduled to meet in the Indonesian capital on Saturday to discuss the crisis in their member country Myanmar.

However, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are being represented by their foreign ministers.

The prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore on Friday confirmed that they will travel to Jakarta for the summit.

Min Aung Hlaing wants to travel to Jakarta despite criticism from human rights organisations and activists.

The Irrawaddy newspaper commented: "ASEAN's highly anticipated 'special' summit on Saturday in Jakarta on Myanmar's crisis can be declared moot on arrival."

Ei Thinzar Maung, a leader of the protest movement against the generals, on Friday called on ASEAN to officially recognise the NUG at its meeting and invite its representatives.

Myanmar should not be represented by "the unofficial military government," she said.

"I have been campaigning to ensure ASEAN listens to all stakeholders if they intend to solve problems," activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told the DPA news agency.

"If they just invite the coup council (military leaders), the meeting is just endorsing and fortifying the coup and its leaders."

The military had ousted and detained the de-facto head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, in early February.

Since then, there have been repeated protests across the country.

The forces have used brutal force against any resistance.

The ASEAN meeting brings together the heads of government or foreign ministers of its 10 members in the Indonesian capital, with Brunei chairing this year.

The Singapore Prime Minister's Office said on Friday the unrest was having a "serious impact on the peace and stability of ASEAN and the region".

Differentiating between the Myanmar junta and the other governments, the Malaysian foreign ministry said the meeting "will be attended by ASEAN leaders, as well as the ASEAN secretary general and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of Myanmar".

ASEAN typically does not comment on the internal affairs of member states, although in recent years some members have dispensed with the bloc's "non-interference" maxim.

Malaysia and Indonesia in 2016 and 2017 castigated Myanmar over what the United Nations has described as a "genocide" targeting the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

ASEAN's members are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.