Skip to main content

Roundtable on Political Islam and International Law

On 28 July 2016, the Laureate Research Program in International Law is hosting a roundtable on Political Islam and International Law at Melbourne Law School. The roundtable will be convened by Anne Orford, and feature two distinguished visitors: Naz Modirzadeh (Director, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict) and Andrew March (Political Science, Yale). The aim of the roundtable is to explore some of the challenges posed by the rise of militant forms of political Islam to existing international law governing the use of force, armed conflict, foreign fighters, and state responsibility. Questions to be discussed will include whether and how a better understanding of the ideological and normative aspects of political Islam might inform international responses to the civil wars taking place throughout the Middle East and North Africa, what challenges are posed by political Islam to the dominant liberal conceptions of the state that inform many of the projects and principles of international law, which histories of international engagement with the region provide the appropriate context for making sense of foreign involvement in these civil wars, what forms of internationalism or international law are being developed within political Islam, and how international lawyers might better engage with those rival internationalisms.

My abstract for the event is as follows: 
Title: States beyond International Law: Myanmar and the Exclusion of Muslims from Politics

Abstract: Many observers have praised Myanmar’s transition from direct military rule to semi-military rule since 2011. Yet this has not benefited all, and Muslims have in effect been the scapegoats of the reform process. My paper will draw attention to the need for the international community to move beyond conceptions of political Islam in the Middle East, and acknowledge the often precarious potion of Muslim communities in Buddhist-majority contexts. Myanmar is a majority Buddhist country with a highly diverse Muslim minority. Although not widely known, there is a long history of Muslim political participation in Myanmar. In the past there have been a number of Muslim-based political parties active in the 1990 election and 2010 election, and from 2011 there were 3 sitting members of parliament at the national level who were Muslim. These political parties, unlike in neighbouring Malaysia or Indonesia, are not Islamist political parties (that is, they do not advocate for Islamic law, nor for any form of Islamic state). However the recent 2015 elections were marred by significant negative sentiment towards Muslims and corresponding political action to restrict their political participation. This led the government to enact measures that meant ‘white card holders’ (those with temporary forms of citizenship, most of whom are Muslims from Rakhine State, also known as the ‘Rohingya’) could not vote or run for political office. This had a serious impact on the ability of many Muslims to participate peacefully in politics and in the future democratisation of their country. There is a need to recover and reaffirm the past positive contributions of Muslims to public life and to the state in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.  


Popular posts from this blog

The impact of Covid-19 on research

Covid-19 is currently disrupting academic publishing in a number of ways.  There are disruptions to the global supply chain for the manufacture and distribution of printed journals. The following publishers have halted journal printing until further notice: Cambridge University Press (from 25 March 2020) Taylor & Francis (from 10 April) S ome journal editors or editing boards have suspended or delayed the review or publication process for academic journals.  On the other hand, some publishers are providing open access content for a limited period of time. See the following links from the UNSW library  and the  ANU library , or select publishers websites such as  OUP .  The University of California Press has opened free access to all its journals until the end of June 2020 Hart Publishing is currently offering free access for libraries to its online platform,  Bloomsbury Collections , until the end of May. To enable access for your institution, email Hart at O

Access to Justice and Administrative Law in Myanmar

Administrative law is an important part of access to justice because it can operate as a check and balance on government decision-making, and provide an avenue for individuals to seek review of government decisions. In a report sponsored by USAID and TetraTech for their 'Promoting the Rule of Law in Myanmar' program, I emphasise the importance of administrative law in Myanmar in promoting good governance, accountability and checks on executive power.  The main avenue for judicial review of administrative action in Myanmar is the constitutional writs under the 2008 Constitution. Since 2011, a large number of applications for the constitutional writs have been brought to the Supreme Court. The Writ Procedure Law 2014 was introduced to clarify the Supreme Court procedure for handling writ cases. The constitutional writs are a new area of law and support needs to be provided to a range of legal actors in order to take hold of the potential opportunity this provides.  Ef

Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law in Myanmar

Dr Melissa Crouch and Associate Professor Lisa Toohey of UNSW Law Faculty are undertaking a Professional Legal Education Project in Commercial and Corporate law in Myanmar (2016-2017), funded by the Asian Development Bank.  Melissa Crouch is the Team leader and Legal Education and Myanmar Law expert. Lisa Toohey is the Legal Education and Commercial Law expert on the project.  Emma Dunlop is the Legal Researcher and Project administrator. Melissa Crouch at the USC Strategic Action Plan meeting 2016 The focus of the project is on improving legal education and skills integral to the transactional practice and adjudication of commercial law, at this critical time in Myanmar's transition to democracy. The project includes developing a training program for the practical legal training needs of private lawyers, government lawyers, prosecutors and judges in commercial and financial law.  Melissa, Lisa and Melinda with law students from Dagon University In 2016, the first stag