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Showing posts from January, 2015

UNSW Engagement in Myanmar/Burma

Since moving to UNSW, I have been interested to learn more about the various initiatives related to Myanmar that the Law Faculty has ongoing. There are three main areas: the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project; legal education; and the Diplomacy Training Program. Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project In 2013, the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Workshop was established and originally directed by Professor Wojciech Sadurski of the University of Sydney, in cooperation with a network of scholars from UNSW, ANU and NUS. Professor Martin Kruyger and Professor Adam Czarnota of UNSW participated with other academics in a workshop held in Yangon in May 2013. The workshop was sponsored by the Australian embassy, Rotary International, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the respective universities. The workshop was attended by a wide range of civil society organisations, lawyers, judges, and politicians. See report on proceedings here , and media rel

Campaigns for Constitutional Reform in Myanmar

Sometimes its useful to look back in order to move forward. Last year while on field research I observed some of the rallies for constitutional amendment in Myanmar. This is my reflection on one of them. The morning was humid, the traffic crowded, crawling by. I arrived in a beat-up taxi at Bo Sein Hman sports ground in Tamwe Township, Yangon. The rally was due to start at 8:30am, and the sports ground was already crammed full of people when I arrived. They must have arrived very early, as people were already sitting on the ground, huddled close together, knee to knee. The crowd were a mixed group of people, young and old and in-between, with the odd journalist and foreigner here and there. I wondered if members of the Special Investigation Branch were also here, probably. The sports ground sloped down to one end where a large platform had been erected. The crowd all faced the large platform, and behind the platform was an enormous sign proclaiming the reason for the demonstra

Looking back

At the start of a New Year, its always useful to look back to see where we have been and where we have directed our efforts. I have been fortunate to be involved in various initiatives in Myanmar over the past few years, but particularly  while I was at National University of Singapore (2012-2014) . Here is a recap on events  October 2012: Workshop on Directions and Determinants in Law Reform in Myanmar - held at NUS, organised by Professor Andrew Harding. Harding has summarised the discussions from this workshop in a chapter Law, Society and Transition in Myanmar . Semester 1, 2012: Asian Legal Studies Colloquium (2012), I contributed to two of Prof Andrew Harding’s classes on the legal system of Myanmar. April 2013: Roundtable on Human Rights and Responsible Business in Myanmar , I gave an update on the legal system at a roundtable organised by Melbourne Law School. May 2013: Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Law Workshop , - I gave a talk on emergency powers and