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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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Presentation Transcript
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?
  • 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
ngos in myanmar coordination in the field
NGOs in Myanmar – Coordination in the field
  • 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
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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!! Intervetion does happen?
  • Supreme humanitarian emergency ×
  • Last resort ×
  • Proportionality ?
  • Positive humanitarian outcome ▲
  • Humanitarian motives ▲・×
  • Humanitarian justification ?
  • Legality ×
  • Selectivity ?
main references
Main references
  • “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
  • 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