A juvenile defendant awaits trial in Yangon
The International Legal Foundation has made great strides in its pursuit of justice for poor accused in Myanmar. Since our launch in Myanmar in late 2017, we’ve defended over one hundred accused men, women, and children from unjust detention and arrest. In Yangon, Mandalay, and Pathein these cases have been represented by our local lawyers under the expert instruction and mentoring of our International Fellows. In court, our defenders have made it a priority to protect defendants from illegal detention and mistreatment, and that’s why we’re honored to bring you the news that the United Nations Development Programme, which has been a global steward of access to justice for the poor and vulnerable for over fifty years, has chosen the International Legal Foundation to provide access to justice to women and other vulnerable groups in the crisis affected area of Rakhine State.
Rakhine is among the poorest states in Myanmar, with nearly 70% of its three million residents living below the poverty line. Many of these people, belonging to the Rohingya ethnic minority, live in camps for Internally Displaced Persons where informal police and courts wield absolute authority. There are so many in need of our services in Rakhine: We know this because of the cases we’ve taken elsewhere in Myanmar, like a young orphan girl accused of accessory to rape for making the bed where the alleged assault took place. Since last year we’ve been hard at work filling in the gaps in the Myanmar justice system and enforcing the rights granted to defendants, like when we fulfilled a pregnant woman’s plea not to give birth in a cell, awaiting trial – our lawyers successfully secured a bail order for her, so that she could receive the medical attention she and her newborn needed.
We’ve made incredible strides in Myanmar, and we’re thrilled that the United Nations Development Programme has chosen us to bring internationally recognized standards of criminal defense to one of the most in-need communities in the world. This has been made possible because of the support of the GlobalGiving community, which allowed us to assess and then respond to the urgent need for access to justice in Myanmar. Please, consider joining us on our mission: renew your donation today, or upgrade to a monthly donation, and help us advance access to justice in Myanmar and around the world.