IDLO, working together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), implemented the first phase of its Rule of Law Centres initiative, from July 2015 to June 2016. The Centres provide training, with a substantive focus on local justice issues linked to international rule of law principles including fairness and equality, to lawyers, law teachers, and civil society representatives, as well as fostering general awareness of the law among the public. The long-term goal is to build greater trust in Myanmar's justice system.
The program has seen the establishment of four Rule of Law Centres in Myanmar – Mandalay, Myitkyina, Taunggyi and Yangon.
Under the Rule of Law Centres, more than 320 lawyers, law teachers and CSO representatives completed the Foundations in Rule of Law and practical legal skills training courses, over 100 trainees were trained in Training of Trainers courses, and more than 1,500 people attended outreach activities. The Rule of Law Centers’ Foundations in Rule of Law course curriculum also includes specific sessions and activities focusing on women’s equality issues, such as inheritance rights, divorce law and gender based violence.
The second phase of this initiative, running from August 2016 to December 2017, plans to expand the range of activities of the Centres and their locations, as well as broaden the target beneficiary groups by including law officers, judicial officials, paralegals, parliamentarians, elected officials and government officials.
Each Centre is guided and advised by a Local Advisory Board made up of jurists, local community representatives and members of parliament. The Centres are run jointly by IDLO and UNDP and supported by Finland, Sweden, the UK, and the US. The program is being implemented at the request of the Myanmar Parliament (Pyithu Hluttaw) Coordinating Body for Rule of Law Centres, established under the Pyithu Hluttaw Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee chaired by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.