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Showing posts from October, 2018

Political Parties and State Transformation in Myanmar

From 10-11 th November, a conference will be held in Yangon on “ Shaping Past, Present and Future: Political Parties and State Transformation in Myanmar” . The conference is jointly organised by Initiative Austausch e.V., the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation and the German Institute of Global and Area Studies. I will be giving a talk on: " The Union Parliament, Political Parties and the Constitution: Why Myanmar’s Union Parliament is the Central Forum for Constitutional Debate and How this Conditions the Future Possibilities for Reform ". Political parties are now a vital part of the constitutional landscape in Myanmar. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has been a central forum for constitutional debate, culminating in the 2015 proposals for reform. To understand the importance of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and how it conditions the future possibilities for constitutional reform, it is necessary to first appreciate how the structure of parliament affects the role and function of political pa

Ethno-Religious Nationalism and Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia

On 25 October 2018, The Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria is hosting a panel on  Ethno-Religious Nationalism and Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia . The panel considers major flashpoints and key indicators for authoritarianism in Southeast Asia and the underlying societal conditions that have given rise to the political shifts we are witnessing in the region. This is part of their “Southeast Asia in Global Context” roundtable series. A distinguished panel of international experts will consider questions about trends in human rights, democracy, and enthno-religious nationalism in Southeast Asia. Discussants Vitit Muntarbhorn Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity Phil Robertson Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch Shane Barter Director of the Pacific Basin Research Center, Soka University of America Kai Ost

ABF Talk: Constitutional Legacies in Authoritarian Regimes

On Wednesday 10 October, I will present as part of the American Bar Foundation speaker series in Chicago on "Constitutional Legacies in Authoritarian Regimes: How the Military Uses the Constitution to Rule Myanmar" . Abstract: How and why do authoritarian regimes draft constitutions to perpetuate their legacy? The field of comparative constitutional law and politics has sought to understand the role and function of constitutions in authoritarian regimes. My presentation will consider how the military uses the Constitution to rule Myanmar today. Using qualitative methods, I question why and how the Constitution is crucial to maintain the ‘military-state’ in Myanmar. The military spent two decades crafting this Constitution, and insisted on going ahead with the referendum in 2008 despites the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in that year. I suggest that the Constitution is central to the construction and maintenance of the ‘military-state’. This military-state has three compon

States of Denial: How the Rohingya Lost the Right to Vote

  This coming Friday I will speak at Northwestern's Buffet Institute for Global Studies in Evanston on 'States of Interpretive Denial in Myanmar'. Abstract of the talk: The international community celebrated the 2015 Myanmar elections and the success of the National League for Democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi. It was even more remarkable that the NLD was then allowed to take power, given the history of the NLD being denied the right to form a government after the 1990 elections. Yet this was only part of the story. The global community by and large missed the legal act of excluding the Rohingya from the political community through disenfranchisement. This act of interpretive denial was executed by parliament, the courts and the administration through the deliberate denial of the right to vote or run for political office for those who held temporary identity cards. Building on Cohen’s theory of States of Denial , I examine ways in which law is a key tool in the p