ASEAN Chair Calls Myanmar Executions “Highly Reprehensible”

Hun Sen speaks at the inauguration ceremony of government-funded facilities and infrastructure in Preah Sihanouk province in December.
Hun Sen speaking at an event earlier this year.

Cambodian Prime Minister and ASEAN Chair Hun Sen released a statement on 25 July criticizing the junta government of Myanmar’s recent executions of activists. 

In an unusually harsh criticism of a neighboring nation, Prime Minister Hun Sen called the killings “highly reprehensible” and said that they “demonstrate a gross lack of will” to follow the ASEAN five part plan to achieve peace in Myanmar, a plan that depended on a de-escalation of violence. 

The executions come less than a month after Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote a letter to Myanmar’s junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, asking him not to follow through on his plans to carry out these executions. 

In his statement, PM Hun Sen wondered, rhetorically, whether the situation in Myanmar makes a peaceful resolution impossible for the ASEAN bloc: “ASEAN, which is committed to establishing peace, must now ask itself – is it possible? Can there be lasting peace in the future if one of its member countries is not prepared to cooperate with its policies?”

The ASEAN chair also suggested that more pressure must be put on Myanmar by it’s closest neighbors: “ASEAN should employ specific measures that put pressure on the regime,” he said,  “so it will return to the practice of democracy, and free and fair elections.” 

This call for more pressure to be put on Myanmar by ASEAN member states aligns with the recent remarks of the US Secretary of State earlier this month. 

The ASEAN ministers will meet from 29 July to 5 August in Phnom Penh for the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting.