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Myanmar Military Junta Leaders Scheduled to Participate in ASEAN Summit

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing will join Southeast Asian leaders at a special summit in Jakarta next week.

Since the coup d’etat on February 1, Myanmar has been in turmoil and hundreds of thousands of protesters have been on the streets demanding a return to democracy.

According to local surveillance groups, military junta attempted to crush the anti-coup movement with deadly force, killing more than 720 people and detaining about 3,100 activists, journalists and opponents.

The international community has largely condemned military junta for the use of force on unarmed civilians-deployed targeted sanctions on the highest military brass, its families and military-related businesses.

However, regional leaders are aiming to open communication with the administration, and on Saturday the Thai Foreign Ministry confirmed that the Min Aung Hlaing summit in Jakarta on the situation in Myanmar would be included.

“Several leaders, including Myanmar’s MAH (Min Aung Hlaing), have confirmed attendance,” spokesman Tanny Sangrat said in a message to reporters.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 10-Country Block Conference is expected to address the ongoing crisis in Myanmar after the coup and will take place on April 24 in Jakarta.

Military junta has consistently justified the rebellion by claiming widespread fraud in the November elections, which the Suu Kyi party won overwhelmingly.

The military said it would return power to the civilian government after the elections took place about a year later, but recently they extended the timeline to a two-year period.

-Prison amnesty-

News of the attendance of military junta leaders comes on the same day that national prisons are set to release more than 23,000 prisoners nationwide.

Myanmar usually pardons thousands of prisoners each year to commemorate its traditional Buddhist New Year holidays.

But this year, anti-coup activists used the holidays as an opportunity to protest the increasing death toll and mass arrests.

Prison officials told AFP on condition of anonymity that prisons nationwide would begin releasing more than 23,000 people.

“Release more than 800 prisoners from Insein Prison,” he added, in the commercial center of Yangon.

In February, military junta released the same number of prisoners, but some rights groups at the time feared the move would free up space for military opponents and disrupt the community.

On Wednesday, a group of rebels said they executed a man released in his amnesty and then raped and killed a five-year-old girl.

Just before Armed Forces Day, the administration also released about 900 imprisoned demonstrators.

However, more than 3,100 people (mostly anti-coup protesters and activists) have been detained since the coup on February 1, according to a local surveillance group, the Political Prisoners Assistance Association.

Military junta issued nightly arrest warrants in state media for celebrities, influencers, journalists, and prominent activists with large social media followers.

By Friday night, they had a total of 380 people.

About 80 doctors have also been nominated as fugitives who have attempted to “worse peace and stability.”

Myanmar health care workers are at the forefront of the national civil disobedience movement and refuse to return to work under the military junta. Their absence left many of the country’s hospitals unattended during the pandemic.

Also read: India will participate in a military parade in Myanmar two months after the coup. Why is it important?

Read also: Myanmar coup drives its citizens to no man’s land on the Indian border

Myanmar Military Junta Leaders Scheduled to Participate in ASEAN Summit

Source link Myanmar Military Junta Leaders Scheduled to Participate in ASEAN Summit

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