Office of ASEAN special envoy on Myanmar must continue: US senator


Jakarta, –  United States Senator from Illinois Tammy Duckworth told a press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday that the office of ASEAN special envoy on Myanmar must be continued even after the current chair Indonesia’s term ends next year.

Next year, Laos will hold the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. In accordance with the previous mechanism, the foreign minister of the chair country will become the special envoy for Myanmar.

Read also: ASEAN Turns 56 as Myanmar’s Violent Conflicts Still Linger

The office of the ASEAN special envoy on Myanmar was set up this year under Indonesia’s initiative. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is currently heading the office and leading ASEAN’s efforts to deal with the crisis in Myanmar.

Duckworth visited Jakarta to attend the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA). The US is one of the observer countries at AIPA.

She informed that during the meeting, she met with delegates from several ASEAN countries and other observer countries to discuss the Myanmar issue.

During the 44th AIPA General Assembly in Jakarta on Wednesday (August 9), AIPA and observer countries agreed to provide humanitarian assistance for the people of Myanmar who have been affected by the prolonged crisis.

Duckworth noted that Indonesia has played a strong leadership role around which everybody can come together to push the same effort.

Read also: UN Says Indonesia Can Play Key Role in Resolving Crisis in Myanmar

“And what I said to the Indonesian delegation was, I hope that you will maintain that (special envoy) office even beyond your years as chair of ASEAN,” she stated.

“I know that your special representative (I Gede Ngurah Swajaya) is going to be the ambassador to Switzerland. But after he leaves, I hope that Indonesia will appoint somebody else in that office to continue,” she added.

The senator said the US is very concerned about the human rights violations in Myanmar, with many populations, especially women and girls and the Rohingyas in particular, being decimated because of their religion.

“I hope that you continue to take a leadership role in that effort,” she added.

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