Community members, civil society representatives, lawyers and law teachers from diverse organizations participated in an “Open House” event on 23 January 2016 to mark the opening of the Yangon Rule of Law Centre, the latest milestone in the roll-out of the Rule of Law Centres Project across Myanmar.
In 2015, three Centres were opened in Mandalay, Taunggyi and Myitkyina. The Project provides training in knowledge, skills and values, and general awareness of the law for legal professionals and community leaders. It also focuses on increasing public legal awareness through community outreach activities, including discussions on key local justice issues, which have already covered land, women’s rights, gender based violence and illicit drugs.
In his remarks as the keynote speaker at the event, U Tin Oo, Patron of the National League for Democracy, speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, said, “As we have earlier heard today, the centres in Mandalay, Taunggyi, and Myitkyina are already active and busy hubs, running popular and oversubscribed classes, holding community outreach activities and providing valuable legal resources to their communities. Feedback from participants and local communities have been extremely positive. Participants have emphasized both the valuable content of the curriculum, and also the innovative, interactive teaching methodology.”
The Open House featured a panel discussion by leading Myanmar legal professionals, including from civil society, the private bar and academia, on how the Rule of Law Centre Project, and similar initiatives, can support the rule of law within Myanmar.
The Yangon Rule of Law Centre offers training courses in Foundations in Rule of Law for lawyers, law teachers and civil society representatives. The first ten day course will begin at the end of January. The Centre also includes a legal resource library and will hold a number of community outreach activities. Members of the public are welcome to visit the Centre, located in theDiamond Condominium complex at the corner of Pyay Road and Narnattaw Street, to meet the staff and learn more about its work.
“Building legal knowledge and skills is key to being able to apply core rule of law principles to local justice issues. IDLO is proud to work with the local community in Yangon to make the Rule of Law Centre a useful resource for legal professionals,” said Faustina Pereira, IDLO’s Director of Global Initiatives.
“Across Myanmar, the training offered by the Rule of Law Centres has helped to build trust among different groups. CSOs, community members and lawyers – all report to have more confidence working with each other. As rule of law is a priority of the incoming government, we should together think about deepening and expanding the work of the centers. UNDP is ready to continue to support Myanmar in this endeavor,” said Toily Kurbanov, UNDP Country Director.
The Rule of Law Centres are supported by the Governments of Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other international development partners. They are being run jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and are an initiative of the Pyithu Hluttaw Coordinating Body for Rule of Law Centres, established under the Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee of the Pyithu Hluttaw.
Image description: U Tin Oo, NLD patron, delivered the opening remarks on behalf of the Chairperson of the Rule of law Centres Coordinating Body of the Pyithu Hluttaw Rule of law and Tranquility Committee, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi