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Legal research and Documentation
Legal research and documentation are BLC's daily core activities. They are the instruments and basic to all BLC's work within a variety of contexts. Such daily activities include the provision of training on particular issues, input into the formulation of public education campaigns, the provision of advice to a particular group, or the representation of an individual whose rights are being violated by governmental authorities.
A recognised forum for legal issues pertaining to Burma
As the only Burmese Law organization, the BLC is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities to the movement for the restoration of democracy in Burma. Its long-term strategy is being realized by assuming a co-ordinating and leadership role in providing a forum for everyone both within and without Burma who are involved and interested in the legal and human rights aspects, of the struggle for democracy in Burma. The tri-annual journal on "Legal Issues on Burma" remains the primary strategic weapon in informing the international community on a variety of legal issues specifically relating to Burma, such as conflict resolution, transition justice, constitutionalism, rule of law, human rights abuses. Articles for the journals are invited and received from a wide variety of sources including academics, politicians, practising lawyers, and NGO workers.
The Burmese military regime seeks to include unelected members of its military in a system of government, through a constitution it has prepared in a sham National Convention, whereby such unelected military personnel will have a permanent and dominant position in the legislature, executive and judiciary of a future "democratic" government. A second draft of the constitution is now being prepared, based on the consultations and the comments on the first draft. The majority of the members of the constitutional drafting committee of the NCUB, consists of the executive of the BLC. The BLC devotes considerable time and resources to public awareness and education on the constitution-drafting process, to help the people of Burma gain basic constitutional knowledge. The BLC is currently the only organization with a consistent program of education on constitutional knowledge. The constitution is a major topic and is regularly addressed in BLC publications in English, and entirely in the "Journal of Constitutional Affairs" in Burmese, which is also published three times in a year.
Legal Assistance Programs
In the past year BLC has begun to undertake the provision of direct legal assistance to particular individuals and groups, and we have begun planning for systematic analysis of Burma's legal system, its strengths and weaknesses.
Study and Analysis of the Judicial System in Burma
Most commentators on Burma agree that the judicial system is not independent of the regime and is a basic tool used for political oppression, and is corrupt. However, it is rare to see a detailed analysis of particular aspects of the judicial system, that is being used as a tool for oppression or corrupt. This lack of specific information, also unfortunately results in the inability to make specific and concrete challenges to the independence and the state of the judicial system in Burma. The closed environment and resistance to reforms, leaves little understanding of the standard universal norms, procedures, and administrative requirements for a fair, impartial, and effective judicial system. It is hoped that a thorough analysis (based on information on hand) of Burma's judicial system - undertaken with academic rigor, will enable both outside interests and the people themselves to apply pressure on the regime, to reform the specific failings and the weaknesses in the judicial system.
Assisting with Improvements to Ethnic Judicial Systems
In Burma's border region, there are numerous ethnic areas where control is exercised effectively by the ethnic groups' own organizations. The military regime's laws and procedures are not applicable or relevant to the people, who live in these remote areas that are traditionally governed by local laws, that are applied by their own organizations. This is said to be a fairer system, as the military's court system is plagued by corruption administering justice, the local organizations have attempted to resolve many of the legal issues arising within these communities, by applying local laws through their own legal systems.
Advocacy and Strategic Planning
The BLC continues to promote human rights and democracy, as they go hand and hand. Without democracy and the application of democratic practices, the BLC believes that human rights protection can never become a reality. Where authoritarian regimes have been in total control for a long period of time, it will not be easy to immediately change the whole system of a country. In such as situation, the oppressed people should be encouraged to seek ways and means to alleviate their sufferings, in relation to particular issues. This will allow them to move towards democracy step by step, by promoting human rights through the resolving of one issue after another. By sharing knowledge on advocacy and strategic planning amongst the people and the grassroots leaders, the participation of the grassroots people can then be systematically secured.