Building on our four-year track record of working with human rights lawyers in Burma, the CEELI Institute has now expanded our efforts in Burma to include support for members of the Burmese Parliament who are working to reform a range of outdated or repressive legislation. Many of these MPs are former dissidents and political prisoners who are now adjusting to new roles as legislators and drafters. Progress in changing these laws and paving the way for a genuine democracy is critical to securing democratic changes in Burma. The MPs are also increasingly aware that the results of the next general election in 2020 will be partly dependent on success in reforming repressive laws.
This project has been a logical outgrowth of our work with the human rights legal community in Burma, and our long term partnership with the Burma Center Prague (BCP). It was through our well-established contacts with senior human rights lawyers, that the CEELI Institute and BCP were requested to initiate this effort, as lawyers we have worked with now have moved from a position of outsiders and political prisoners into positions within the legislature. The transition is an important, but challenging one for them. The latest series of roundtables, organized by CEELI and BCP this month (December 2017) in Burma, covers strategies for a successful and efficient drafting of new laws, including cooperation with independent lawyers associations as a source of expertise and legal drafts.
This project has been possible through the ongoing support of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and more recently through additional support provided by the British Embassy in Yangon.