The Yangon Rule of Law Centre hosted a government delegation, this week, to discuss the work of the Rule of Law Centres and legal issues in Yangon, and to promote cooperation between government justice actors and such initiatives.
The 35-member parliamentary commission - led by Thura U Shwe Mann, Chairperson of the Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues - is responsible for law review and reform and for providing legal advice to the speakers and parliamentary committees.
“The Rule of Law Centres team provided the delegation with an overview of the mandate, training and outreach activities of the centres and the impact they have had in helping build the knowledge, skills and values of justice actors, raising legal awareness and supporting identification and dialogue on local justice issues in their host communities.
In his remarks, Thura U Shwe Mann stressed the importance of legal awareness, noting that Myanmar still has too many people, who do not know the law and cannot access justice. He praised the work of the Rule of Law Centres in providing rule of law training and supporting community outreach activities and stated that “this kind of project is very important for the country. The country’s development is directly related to rule of law”. He thanked UNDP and IDLO for their support of the Centres.
The Commission also invited a delegation from the Rule of Law Centres to attend a meeting at the Western Dagon District Court, with U Win Swe, Chief Justice of Yangon Region, and senior representatives from the Union Attorney General’s Office, the Myanmar Police Force and the Yangon Justice Centre. The meeting addressed legal issues in Yangon including high caseloads, the infrastructure needs of the courts, and need for legal awareness and legal aid.
U Soe Moe Kyaw, National Program Manager for the Rule of Law Centres, offered the Centres’ help in ensuring that the Commission’s work includes the perspectives of local communities, through facilitating consultations on draft laws and through bringing together a range of stakeholders within the justice sector, including government institutions.
U Shwe Mann encouraged all institutions present to collaborate with each other and support the work of rule of law initiatives that work with local communities. He emphasized that “rule of law is the responsibility of everyone” and highlighted the partnership with the University of Yangon as “an example of a good model of government institution that accommodates the ROL Centres.”
The Rule of Law Centres, located in Yangon, Mandalay, Myitkyina and Taunggyi, are implemented by UNDP and IDLO, with support from the governments of Finland, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom.