Yangon, November 11, 2017 - More than 200 people including Government officials, community members, civil society representatives, lawyers and law teachers from diverse organizations took part in a Conference hosted by the Rule of Law Centres (ROLC), implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), at Yangon University today.
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.
John Pearson, former Director of Prosecutions for the Ontario Attorney General’s Ministry in Canada, worked with IDLO supporting the Myanmar Union Attorney General’s Office. He spoke to Victoria Harrison Neves, Strategic Communications Adviser, about his experience in the country.
H.E. U Tun Tun Oo, is the Attorney General of Myanmar. In November 2016, he spoke to IDLO as a special guest at the Assembly of Parties.
“I used to pay 'pocket money' to authorities when I went to court before, now I stop paying money because I had realized that it’s a kind of corruption.”
IDLO works to empower rural women by enhancing legal knowledge and rights awareness, giving them tools to promote justice in their local communities, and promoting their professional participation in the justice sector. Many women living in rural communities are excluded from decision-making processes and unable to access formal justice structures.
The story goes as follows: A wife confronts her husband with allegations of an extramarital affair. The husband’s reaction is violent; yelling and screaming, he beats her. She goes to seek help from a local administrator – but falls on deaf ears.
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.
Without rule of law, inclusive and sustainable development cannot be achieved, a panel discussion organized at the University of Yangon highlighted yesterday.
IDLO Director-General to visit Myanmar
The Myanmar Attorney General’s Office (UAGO) has held the first-ever state and regional level training on fair trial standards, with the participation of 30 regional, district and township law officers.
IDLO is supporting the training departments of the Myanmar Union Attorney General’s Office (UAGO) and the Office of the Supreme Court of the Union (OSCU) to strengthen their capacity development strategies. The long-term goal is to help justice sector institutions implement their strategic priorities of modernizing training programs by improving the knowledge, skills and abilities of judges, law officers and court staff, and enhancing their professional development.
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 jus