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ASEAN leaders to visit Myanmar soon

Death in Myanmar post-coup violence reaches 842, according to monitoring group

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Amid a continuing chaos in Myanmar since the Feb.1 military coup, the leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are planning to visit Myanmar.

Further information about the visit is not available yet, but Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Wednesday the visit will be the starting point for ASEAN’s work to follow up on the 5-point consensus agreed at the leaders’ meeting in April.

He also called on ASEAN to immediately appoint a special envoy to mediate between the junta and anti-military groups.

ASEAN leaders, including Myanmar’s military chief who led the coup, met in Jakarta, Indonesia and reached a consensus on the situation in Myanmar.

The meeting called for an immediate cessation of violence, substantive dialogue among all parties involved, mediation by a special envoy or delegations, and the distribution of humanitarian aid.

But there has been no sign the agreement will be realized as the number of civilians killed in the crackdown by Myanmar’s junta continues to rise.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a civil society group, said the death toll in violence has reached 842.

Meanwhile, many Myanmar public schools have opened to empty classrooms. Some parents have registered their children but are reluctant to send them due to ongoing crackdowns across the country.

Empty schools were seen in some regions with frequent clashes between security forces and local resistance groups such as Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Chin State and Kayah (Karenni).

As part of a civil disobedience movement, pro-democracy protests have taken place in cities and towns across the country since the takeover.

The military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, detained her and other leaders of the National League for Democracy party, then cracked down with lethal force on anti-coup protesters.

Suu Kyi’s party won a second term in November, but the military said rigging in the polls had forced it to seize power.

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