The Counter-Productivity of ASEAN’s Non-Interference Principle in This Modern World

Putri Azzahra (2021)

        The adaptation of non-interference principle within ASEAN as its norm has been constantly upholded by its 11 state-members throughout the times. This principle means that the 11 state-members of ASEAN should not interfene each other’s domestical affairs and therefore, things like economical sanction such as protectionism is not allowed to be done amongs each state-members or even to the extent of military intervention such as sending troops into a problematic ASEAN country. Therefore, this writing is going to talk about how this non-interference principle is a form of a counter-productivity towards ASEAN itself and why this is no longer being relevant to be implemented in this era of liberalisation.

       The state-founders of ASEAN once believed that the creation of ASEAN would not necessarily have something to do with what’s happening inside each other’s border and sovereignty, instead what ASEAN should be more focussing on is to the relationship and the cooperation amongst its member-states. Therefore, there should never be any intervention to each member-state’s sovereignty because there wouldn’t be any meaningful or significant impact towards the cooperation that’s going to be happened in ASEAN. Yes, that kind of idea was still relevant back then because there wasn’t really any humanitarian crisis or the awareness to spot one due to each country still have their own focus to build their own nation after the post-colonialism.

(sumber : https://www.cfr.org/blog/asean-meets-remains-mostly-silent-major-regional-issues , Copyright : Council of Foreign Policy)

        As we can see in the status quo right now, there are lots humanitarian crisis happening in some of ASEAN state members such as Myanmar and Philippines. There was a massacre of Rohingya Muslim in Myanmar and late continued with a coup done by the military forces to overthrown the legal authority. Vicious military-led government is also happening in Philipines as the authority is being abuse of power and create lots of human rights violation. By the fact that ideally, Due to the special rights to be armed and special access to weaponry, military forces should have be the tool for a country particularly in security and defense system makes it clear that they should not be participated in the political practice. Therefore, the moment when the military is allowed to take part in the political practice, there will be an abuse of power. Therefore, not only causing lots of human rights violation, military-led government is also eradicating democracy because nobody would even have a guts to critize an armed authority.

        At this point, the role of ASEAN is even being questioned by the UN as to what happen with one of its member states violation against human rights. As one of the most effective and efficient intergovernmental organization, ASEAN could play a bigger role to solve this humanitarian crisis that exist within its region that envolve one of its member states. Therefore, non-interference principle is no longer relevant due to this urgency and might needed to be reformed.

       Another reason why this non-interventionist policy should be stopped immediately is because it’s going to create a less accountable country. If ASEAN and all its member states keep letting those problematic country like Myanmar and Philippines to continue their abusive military-led government, then the accountability of those country would be very diminished due to the lackability for its citizen ever get a chance to pursue wealth and justice. Military-led government always have the flexibility and their own way to silence the oppressed civil society. Then, if ASEAN is still not stopping the non-interventionist policy, it will just create a more powerful regime for those military-led government, because it indirectly gives them absolute legitimacy and absolute political power towards that nation that they are couping, for example. Meanwhile, those abusive military-led government are also thinking that they have nothing to lose to keep being the authority and being abuse of power because at the end of the day ASEAN or any neighboring country cannot give them economical sanction or even interfene the problem that exist. At this level, negotiation would be as useless.

        If we take a look at the prospective effect to the ASEAN as a whole, this non-interference principle would create an inequality in its growth. Some of ASEAN member states would be just stucked in their deep crisis just like Myanmar and Philippines, meanwhile other member states like Malaysia, Singapore, or Indonesia could go further to develop their countries. The problematic country would just be busy solving their crisis only, while other country could already develop their infrastructure or economical growth. This whole scenario will cause a ruined trading and cooperative measure that exist in ASEAN. For example, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have already succeed to advance their commodities’ production, but the problem is that they cannot trade with countries like Philippines or Myanmar because they’re going to have limited market due to the limited purchasing power by these problematic country that makes them unable to buy those commodity. What happens next is that these producing countries would likely sell their commodities to the countries outside of ASEAN’s region, which we don’t want as a member of ASEAN. Because what we want instead is a strong bonded regional commonities that is highly integrated. Therefore, by eradicating this non-interventionist policy, ASEAN would make lots of betterment towards the community as a whole.

Keseluruhan opini dalam tulisan ini merupakan pandangan penulis dan tidak merepresentasikan PCD Studies Center 

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