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Cyclone Nargis & Humanitarian Intervention. Jenny & Steve. Storyline. Introductory video Cyclone Nargis & humanitarian intervention R2P+ ?? NGO: an alternative to R2P. Aung San Suu Kyi @Oxford. http :// related. Source: BBC.

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Cyclone nargis humanitarian intervention

Cyclone Nargis& Humanitarian Intervention

Jenny & Steve


  • Introductory video

  • Cyclone Nargis & humanitarian intervention

  • R2P+ ??

  • NGO: an alternative to R2P

Aung san suu kyi @oxford
Aung San SuuKyi @Oxford

Source: BBC

From yangoon to naypyidaw problems along the story
From Yangoon to Naypyidaw: Problems along the story

  • Myanmar has been with violation of human rights, ethnic conflicts since its formation in 1948

  • As of 2011, about 800,000 Muslim refugees coming from Myanmar, most of them reside in borders with Thailand and in South-east Myanmar (

  • Under President TheinSein, Myanmar has improved its freedom (overall) by at least 4 points (

    • The release of Aung San SuuKyi

    • NLD managed to secure seats at the parliament

Cyclone nargis 1
Cyclone Nargis-1

  • According to Haacke:

    • Myanmar’s junta, no capacity to respond to the humanitarian disaster

    • Govt blocking international relief, rejecting the use of foreign military assets to deliver aids

  • Myanmar is the first country within SE Asia that has become a target for explicit discussion about applying R2P principle.

  • R2P:

    • Genocide

    • War crimes

    • Ethnic cleansing

    • Crimes against humanity

Cyclone nargis 2
Cyclone Nargis-2

  • UN Charter Art 39

    • Dynamics of the post-cyclone situation and R2P?

    • Invocation of the R2P principle and the response to Nargis?

    • International reaction towards Nargis and armed conflict?

    • Implications and conclusions follow from the Myanmar case in relation to R2P more generally?

Cyclone nargis 3
Cyclone Nargis-3

Myanmar’s malign neglect

Cyclone nargis diplomatic solutions 1
Cyclone Nargis– Diplomatic solutions 1

  • Visas to international staff working for the UN and humanitarian agencies and granting of access to more remote parts of the delta

  • Agreement to receive an emergency assessment team from the ASEAN

  • The hosting of EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid

  • WFP using ten helicopters to ferry supplies from warehouse facilities in Yangon directly to remote locations the delta

  • ASEAN Disaster Management and Emergency Response mechanism not fully ratified as of 2005, so help has been on bilateral basis

    • ASEAN + ERAT + Govt of Myanmar relief efforts

Cyclone nargis diplomatic solution 2
Cyclone Nargis – Diplomatic solution 2

  • Singapore Foreign Minister, George Yeo:

    • “Many western countries feel that much more should be done and perhaps it should be forced to them, but I don’t see how this can be done, because if you try to do that, you make the situation worse and will only increase the suffering of the people in Myanmar”

  • ASEAN foreign ministerial meeting: open a way

  • 7th ASEAN Security Summit:

    • The responsibility of disaster-hit countries to quickly and effectively bring humanitarian relief

    • Countries concerned should provide entry for humanitarian relief

    • Consent and supervision from the affected countries

Cyclone nargis and ongoing problems
Cyclone Nargis and Ongoing Problems

  • Armed conflict

    • Outflow of refugees, ethnic group vsgovt

    • Eastern Myanmar: local govtvs Karen National Union  refugees in northwest Thailand

      • Myanmar: highest IDP rate in SE Asia

    • In 2006, there was a shared idea of Myanmar potentially being a stumbling block to the international peace

      • 1100 political prisoners (including Aung San SuuKyi), outflow of refugees (problems with Thailand), drugs, HIV-AIDS and diseases.

      • Objection from Russia, China, Congo and Qatar

      • China and Russia argue that Myanmar’s problem is far from disturbance to the international peace and stability

Cyclone nargis and ongoing problems1
Cyclone Nargis and Ongoing Problems

  • Obstacles of applying RtoP to Myanmar

    • There is no genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity which disturb international peace and/or stability

    • There is no clear picture on problems related to refugees in North-west Thailand and Eastern Myanmar.

      • There is no significant number of victims to be classified as ethnic cleansing

      • Lack of access to eastern Myanmar

    • China and the UNSC

      • Ties between Beijing and Naypidaw

      • Russia has always been against the idea of intervention

      • Indonesia has been abstain since Jan 2007 draft resolution on Myanmar  ASEAN does not really agree on intervention

R2p plus

  • Limited applicability of current global demand (particularly in addressing ‘natural catastrophe’) + suspicion that it could be a tool of Western neo-imperialists ---- R2P-Plus

  • Focuses on preventive aspect of R2P + Removes the capacity for aggression or armed interference (Omission of reactive element)

  • Responsive pillar (R2P) > Preventive pillar (R2P-Plus)

  • “benign preventive pillar”

Asean crisis management
ASEAN – Crisis management

  • Relative success of ASEAN in crisis management

  • ASEAN’s involvement in the 1979 Vietnam-Cambodian War

  • Indonesia’s request for a peacekeeping force led by ASEAN in the East Timor conflict in 1999

  • Recent inroads made by ASEAN and the Chinese govt in persuading the Myanmar junta to allow humanitarian organizations greater access to the disaster-stricken areas following Cyclone Nargis

R2p plus for asean prospects and challenges
R2P-Plus for ASEAN: Prospects and Challenges

  • R2P-Plus fits strongly with strategic interests of ASEAN states and their traditional ASEAN way of interaction which revolves around diplomacy and minimal interference in each other’s domestic affairs

  • Non-coercive methods -> response to humanitarian problems + preserve core national interests of member states

  • R2P-Plus within ASEAN Security community ( to foster regional integration)

  • 5 strategic priorities for SC

  • Political development

  • Norms-setting

  • Confict prevention

  • Conflict resolution

  • post-conflict peace building

Essential conditions of conflict prevention 1 early warning capability
essential conditions of conflict prevention – 1. Early warning Capability

  • ASEAN ->utilize the ASEAN Peoples’ Assembly (APA) network

  • To establish a regional network of NGOs, think-tanks, academics -> prevent a crisis from escalating

  • Strategic partners : China, South Korea, Australia, India -> help to develop effective domestic early warning capability through technical assistance

2 preventive toolbox
2. Preventive Toolbox warning Capability

  • Could be composed of representative form gov. , academia, civil society and expertise

  • Monitoring role (Investigation of specific human rights situations that could potentially trigger crisis)

  • ASEAN envoys could be dispatched to mediate and monitor under ASEAN Troika

  • Goal : to resolve conflicts through regional cooperation if possible

  • Natural catastrophe – Disaster response mechanism ( ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment (ERAT), ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force, Advisory group, UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Non-govt. organizations

3 generating political will
3. Generating Political Will warning Capability

  • ASEAN and interested parties to convince states and affected state of the need to act

  • Strong leadership

  • Need to impress upon ASEAN states that ‘security of one’s neighbors impact its own’

  • 3 most recent crisis in ASEAN

  • 1. The Saffron Revolution 2. Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar 3. Thai-Cambodian border dispute

    : how the national interests of individual states are intertwined with the region and being shaped by external forces

    - ‘regional neighbors will naturally intervene in the affected state’s affairs’ but the question is “how, when and to what ultimate end those regional interventions will occur” ‘

Characteristics of asean and asean charter
Characteristics of ASEAN and ASEAN Charter warning Capability

  • ASEAN charter (2007) : preserve traditional and conservative norms and consensus

  • HLTF (High Level Task Force)

  • Composed only of 10 people from ASEAN member states

  • Only 9-10 months to draft ASEAN Charter

  • NGOS -> didn’t have access to the draft before it was presented to and signed by the leaders during the 13th summit in Singapore

  • Public : no opportunity to debate the document

Criticisms warning Capability

  • Fails to put people at the center, much less empowered them

  • Lacks role of citizens and civil society organization in regional community building

  • Adopt “ASEAN WAY” : “rule-based organization and remain just that’s”

Consensual decision making
Consensual Decision Making warning Capability

  • Article 20:

  • Decision-making in ASEAN shall be based on consultation and consensus (provide each member state with veto power)

  • Consensus is needed in order to make non-consensus decision and for these to be valid

  • No sanctions (not even have provisions for suspension of members)

Asean s traditional consensus approach
ASEAN’s Traditional consensus approach warning Capability

  • 1. Thai Prime Minister ThanksinShinawatra’s treat to walk out of ASEAN Summit in 2005

    : If the violence in Southern Thailand was raised

    2. Prime Minister of Myanmar’s opposition to the planned briefing, on the situation after the military junta’s crackdown against protesting Buddihist monks

  • Traditional norms of state sovereignty and non-interference

    - Promotion of R2P difficult

Regional human rights body
Regional Human Rights Body warning Capability

  • Myanmar and Vietnam  opposed to the creation of a human rights body

    : Premium on State sovereignty and non-interference

  • Compromise : all members agreed to include a second paragraph under Article 14

  • ‘operate in accordance the terms of reference to be determined at a later stage by the foreign ministers

  • High Level Panel (HLP) created in July 2008

Ngo an alternative to r2p
NGO: an alternative to R2P? warning Capability

  • Review on the situation in Myanmar

    • Human rights violation – no freedom of expression

    • Ongoing conflicts, stateless people & refugees

    • Poor public health facility

    • Governance, democracy and civil society problems

    • Economics and livelihoods

    • Education – only 1.3% of GDP for this sector

Why supporting ngos
Why supporting NGOs? warning Capability

Ngos in myanmar coordination in the field
NGOs in Myanmar – Coordination in the field warning Capability

  • The importance of strong field-based governance structures with mechanisms to hold NGO LO staff to account is underestimated. Where he NGO LO has a responsibility to local NGOS, governance structures must include them

  • Recognising the perceived and actual influence of location, source of fudning, and language on effectiveness of NGO coordination

  • NGO coordination must regularly consult with and anticipate the rapidly changing demands of field-based stakeholders

  • While a good coordination is necessary … an NGO coordinator should have experience working with different stakeholders

Ngos in myanmar coordination in the field1
NGOs in Myanmar – Coordination in the field warning Capability

  • Without a commitment to the Principles of Partnership and a means to evaluate whether or not they are being met, lip service to endeavouring to build on local capacity remains just that

  • Facilitating LNGO participation in the mainstream coordination is not necessarily the only or the most effective way to support local response and/or improve coordination and collaboration

  • A mutual recognition of the role and relationship between NGO coordination mechanism, HAP and Sphere can result in the benefits of networking, peer-learning and peer-evaluation, and sound technical advice

What can we do with myanmar and ngos
What can we do with Myanmar and NGOs? warning Capability

  • Increase funding levels

  • Improving local capacity

  • Opening up the humanitarian space

  • Improving reliable data

  • Changing western donor policies

  • Donor harmonization

Myanmar un and asean
Myanmar, UN and ASEAN warning Capability

  • The three actors

  • Humanitarian aid should take precedence over political reform

  • ASEAN and UN should be at the forefront of humanitarian actions in Myanmar

  • Efforts to extend the TCG’s operations to other crises in Myanmar should be, and remain, completely apolitical

If intervetion does happen
IF!! warning Capability Intervetion does happen?

  • Supreme humanitarian emergency ×

  • Last resort ×

  • Proportionality ?

  • Positive humanitarian outcome ▲

  • Humanitarian motives ▲・×

  • Humanitarian justification ?

  • Legality ×

  • Selectivity ?

Main references
Main references warning Capability

  • “Cyclones and Humanitarian Crises: Pushing the Limits of R2P in SE. Asia” by Caballero – Chang

  • “The ASEAN Charter and the Promotion of R2P in SE. Asia: Challenges and Constraints” by Noel M. Morada

  • “Myanmar, the Responsibility to Protect, and the Need for Practical Assistance” by JurgenHaacke

  • “Working Through Ambiguity: International NGOs in Myanmar” by Soubhik Ronnie Saha

Additional references
Additional references warning Capability

  • Information on Tripartite Core Group: ASEAN-Myanmar-UN




  • Information on Cyclone Nargis Chronology


  • Breakdown of international actors’ interests


  • The Case Study 2008-2010: NGOs in Myanmar