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Myanmar’s coup, ASEAN’s crisis_banner

Myanmar’s coup, ASEAN’s crisis: And the implications for Australia

By Huong Le Thu, David Engel and Hillary Mansour

The rapidly unfolding Myanmar crisis is presenting Southeast Asia with one of its most severe security and stability threats in the past three decades. While the region is certainly familiar with military coups and violent changes of government, the ongoing crisis in Myanmar carries risks far more acute than previous coups d’etat in the region.

One of them is the risk to the sustained modus operandi of the region’s key institution—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The outcome of ASEAN’s involvement in the Myanmar crisis is consequential not only for the Myanmar people, but also for the association’s ability to credibly lead efforts to preserve peace and security in the region into the future.

In this report, we assess the security situation in Myanmar, ASEAN’s collective response and the individual roles of key ASEAN member states in the mediating process. We focus on the effect that the Myanmar crisis has on the overall ASEAN political and security situation, and highlight Indonesia’s leadership, and limitations, in the process. We also detail the legal instruments and responsibility of ASEAN—in the form of the ASEAN Charter—to uphold the rule of law. The report concludes with some policy implications for the wider region, particularly Australia.