International Development Law Organization

Myanmar

English

During a period of historic democratic transition within Myanmar, the rule of law has emerged as a priority issue. The government of Myanmar has repeatedly emphasized the importance of strengthening rule of law for the development of the country as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule. However, the legacy of policies that systematically undermined legal education, an independent judiciary and the private legal profession, combined with unchecked power of state officials and widespread corruption, have led to a serious lack of public trust in justice sector institutions and those who are responsible for dispensing justice. Public awareness of the law, and accountability of state actors for enforcing and upholding the law, will take many years of institutional change to achieve.

IDLO has been involved in a number of rule of law and access to justice projects in Myanmar since establishing a presence there in 2013, and established a field office in Yangon in October 2015.

IDLO Statement on Myanmar

The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) expresses its deep concern about the suspension of the democratic process in Myanmar. The current state of emergency jeopardizes hard-won progress on rule of law, human rights and participatory governance which are key to Myanmar’s democratic transition.

Support the Development of Rules for the New Child Rights Law in Myanmar

Although Myanmar is a Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in the country still suffer disproportionate risks of early marriage, sexual exploitation, trafficking, neglect and abuse. In order to address these challenges, in 2019, the parliament passed a new Child Rights Law which covers all aspects of a child’s life, including health, education, juvenile justice, children in armed conflict and alternative care arrangements. However, there is still a need to develop rules to guide the law’s implementation.

Prevention and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in Myanmar

Strengthening prevention and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through the rule of law and access to justice has been a priority for the Government of Myanmar since 2011, when it embarked on an unprecedented transition towards democracy. SGBV cases are rarely reported and, when they are, the justice sector fails to provide adequate remedies. Therefore, there is a widely recognized need to increase prevention of and accountability for SGBV.

Reflections from Myanmar: Access to justice for SGBV survivors

Women and girls in Myanmar face many barriers when trying to access justice for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Chief among these are the pervasive negative attitudes which seek to justify and allow SGBV within families and communities. In addition, SGBV survivors are often stigmatized and blamed for the violence  preventing them from effectively pursuing legal remedies.

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Key Initiatives

  • Although Myanmar is a Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in the country still suffer disproportionate risks of early marriage, sexual exploitation, trafficking, neglect and abuse. In order to address these challenges, in 2019, the parliament passed a new Child Rights Law which covers all aspects of a child’s life, including health, education, juvenile justice, children in armed conflict and alternative care arrangements. However, there is still a need to develop rules to guide the law’s implementation.
  • In 2014, the Rule of Law Centres Initiative was launched to increase trust and cooperation between justice providers and the communities they serve. With project offices in Mandalay, Yangon, Myitkyina and Taunggyi, the Rule of Law Centres trained lawyers, law teachers, government officials and civil society representatives on key rule of law and human rights issues and raised awareness of rule of law in communities across the country.
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