News from the Association

UKAWJ and the Judiciary of Myanmar

In March 2016 a member of the committee, Rachel Karp, took part in a high profile international visit to Myanmar with the aim of engaging with the judiciary and new Democratic Government, at this critical time in Myanmar’s political development. The trip was facilitated by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The aim was:

  • to build relationships with the Myanmar judiciary, with a view to discussing, scoping and eventually delivering a version of the International Association of Women Judges’ Jurisprudence of Equality Programme, tailored to their needs;
  • to forge direct links with the women in the judiciary in Myanmar and to promote information sharing and building international links;
  • to facilitate the involvement of the women judges of Myanmar in the work of and opportunities presented by the IAWJ to developing democracies;
  • to give information about the Jurisprudence of Equality Training Programme,(JEP) designed by the IAWJ which deals with aspects of discrimination and violence against women and explore whether they consider it could be of use to them. Previous JEP programmes have begun with a 2-3 day initial offering which has included a stakeholders’ consultation to which police, prosecutors, women’s groups, etc are invited, to discuss what they see as barriers to accessing the courts;
  • to consider whether they might want to focus on domestic violence, employment discrimination issues, or women’s ability to pass on nationality to their children, or sexual assault law;
  • to promote the international offering of the Judicial College, particularly in the areas of Ethics and Rule of Law training.

The next step would be to devise a training manual, for a 'train the trainers’ workshop (3Ts). The IAWJ have considerable experience in this. There would then be a return visit with the draft manual, to be reviewed with the leadership group and a small group of judges. The judges give feedback and modifications are made to the manual. The 3Ts programme is then delivered to a selection of the leadership judiciary, training on the specific manual and on adult education techniques. The trainers then train their colleagues, using the manual;

The response to the visit was positive. Six women judges have been nominated to attend the IAWJ Biennial Conference in Washington. Two will attend with financial assistance from the UKAWJ. The Chief Justice of Myanmar will need to approve their visit but Rachel has already spoken to him and this initial approach will be followed up by the British Embassy.

The new government takes office at the end of March and emphasis has been put on rule of law issues and the need to make the Prevention of Violence against Women Bill a priority.

This is an exciting initiative and we will keep members updated as things progress.

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