ASEAN’s Non-Intervention Principle: Is It Still Relevant?

ASEAN’s Non-Intervention Principle: Is It Still Relevant?
Image: Doc. Asia-Europe Institute (AEI)

In 1976, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) unanimously established The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). This treaty is a pact for cooperation and non-aggression among ASEAN countries and their partners. The TAC outlines the goals and principles for fostering friendship and cooperation among all ASEAN members.

In line with its objectives, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) is expected to contribute to promoting peace, friendship, cooperation, and closer relations among ASEAN members. The treaty includes a mechanism for peaceful dispute resolution, which has also been adopted within its framework. The principles of the TAC are reflected in the United Nations Charter, particularly concerning the principles of non-intervention and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

However, the military coup in Myanmar, led by the Myanmar Military Junta, continues with no resolution in sight. Since the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar Military Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, numerous civil wars and power struggles have ensued, resulting in many casualties, including the deaths of demonstrators.

The actions taken by the Myanmar Military Junta have led to human rights violations, posing a critical issue for the enforcement of human rights in the ASEAN region, which requires further attention. In this context, ASEAN's resolve as a regional community in addressing the Myanmar coup crisis is being questioned. The principle of non-intervention upheld by the ASEAN Charter appears to be a significant obstacle in resolving the political crisis in Myanmar.

Following this explanation, research conducted by Rahmanto in 2017 examined the compatibility of the principle of non-intervention with human rights norms and principles, concluding that it is no longer relevant to the current global developments. The research also explained that ASEAN's strict adherence to non-intervention has exacerbated the situation regarding the protection, respect, and fulfillment of human rights in the region.

Therefore, according to Erika Erika and Dewa Gede Sudika Mangku in their journal titled "Examining the Principle of Non-Intervention That Still Encompasses ASEAN" the non-intervention principle renders ASEAN incapable of providing strong and binding legal facilitation for addressing human rights violations.

The principle of non-intervention often sparks much debate. This debate arises because the principle is still maintained and significantly contributes to ASEAN's development and respect for the sovereignty of each member state. However, on the other hand, this principle has long-term negative impacts on conflict resolution and its application within the humanitarian scope in the ASEAN region.

This principle needs to be reviewed, not to encroach upon or violate political freedom within a country, but to introduce flexibility and new breakthroughs in the restoration and enforcement of human rights, particularly for the ASEAN community.


Erika, & Sudika Mangku, D. G. (2014). Meneropong Prinsip Non Intervensi Yang Masih Melingkar Dalam ASEAN. Perspektif, Vol. XIX(No. 3), 178 -189.

Rahmanto, T. Y. (2017, Desember). Prinsip Non-Intervensi Bagi ASEAN Ditinjau Dari Perspektif Hak Asasi Manusia (Non-Interference Principle in ASEAN Reviewed from Human Rights Perspective). Jurnal HAM, Vol. 8(No. 2), 145-159.

Widiastuti, A. (2022). Perspektif ASEAN Terhadap Prinsip Non-Intervensi. Jurnal USM Law Review, Vol. 5(No. 1), 377-388.

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