Myanmar’s incarcerated former leader Aung San Suu Kyi is ill, and a request for an outside medical to examine her was denied by the country’s military authorities on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the situation and the shadow government loyal to her.
Instead, a doctor from the prisons department has been treating the 78-year-old Nobel laureate.
“She was suffering from gum swelling and couldn’t eat well, and she’s feeling light-headed and vomiting,” claimed the source, who declined to be identified for fear of being arrested.
The Myanmar military junta’s spokesperson did not respond to Reuters’ calls.
The Southeast Asian country has been in crisis since early 2021, when the military deposed Suu Kyi’s elected administration and cracked down on opponents of military authority, with hundreds imprisoned or killed.
Suu Kyi faces 27 years in prison for 19 criminal charges. She disputes all of the charges against her, ranging from incitement to electoral fraud to corruption, and has filed an appeal.
She was transferred to home arrest from the capital’s penitentiary in July.
Myanmar Denied Asean Leadership
The exiled National Unity Government of Myanmar, formed by opponents of military rule and the remnants of Suu Kyi’s previous government, stated that the military junta is responsible for the healthcare and protection of political detainees.
“The international community should put pressure on the junta to ensure the healthcare and security of all political detainees, including Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Kyaw Zaw, a spokesperson for the National Unity Government, to Reuters.
Many governments have demanded the unconditional release of Suu Kyi and thousands of other political prisoners, and some, notably the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, have imposed sanctions on the Southeast Asian country’s military.
Meanwhile, according to Asian diplomats and the Philippines’ president, ASEAN leaders have determined that Myanmar will not take over the rotational leadership of their regional organisation as expected in 2026.
The decision, announced on Tuesday at an ASEAN leaders’ summit in Indonesia, is the latest setback for Myanmar’s ruling generals’ efforts to obtain international recognition after forcibly seizing power in 2021.
According to an Asean statement issued yesterday, Asean leaders have agreed to form a troika to continue tackling the Myanmar quagmire due to the current protracted situation.
The leaders reviewed and discussed the situation in Myanmar during the retreat on Tuesday, and they agreed that the Asean Five Point Consensus (5PC) remained relevant as the main reference to bring peace to Myanmar.
According to the leaders’ assessment, the Myanmar situation is unlikely to change in a year, and this, along with Asean’s commitment to continue assisting the people of Myanmar, led to agreement on the formation of a troika consisting of the current chair, previous chair, and incoming chair.
The proposal has come up a few times since Myanmar’s military government took control in February 2021. During the Cambodian conflict, the trio formula was used to involve all conflicting groups.
Asean Chair Goes to Philippines
According to the leaders’ decision, the Office of Special Envoy to the Asean Chair/Asean Chair Special Envoy will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders in Myanmar to build trust “towards convening an inclusive and durable peaceful resolution to the crisis that is Myanmar-owned and led.”
They also agreed that all formal and informal methods led by the Asean chair and troika, as well as any efforts made by Asean members in conjunction with the Asean chair, are consistent with the 5PC.
Western governments have decried the Myanmar military’s ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected administration and have demanded her and other leaders’ release.
At the ASEAN summit, the Philippines committed to take over the regional bloc’s leadership in 2026, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr stated in a statement, citing what he informed fellow leaders in closed-door discussions.
“It is my pleasure to announce that the Philippines is ready to take the helm and chair ASEAN in 2026,” Marcos remarked to his ASEAN counterparts in Jakarta, according to a presidential palace statement.
“We will fortify the foundations of our community-building efforts and navigate ASEAN as it embarks on a new chapter.”
Marcos did not explain why the Philippines was assuming the chair from Myanmar.
ASEAN’s leadership rotates annually based on the alphabetical sequence of the member states’ English names.
In accordance with the ASEAN charter, a member state chairs the ASEAN summit and related summits, as well as the group’s other bodies.