Myanmar has a history marked by periods of varied fortune and discreditable incidents. Since its independence from the British Rule in 1948, the country has remained isolated from the rest of the world. The reasons are reprehensible. On a daily basis, news column on the International Section has a very brittle opinion regarding the conditions prevailing in Myanmar.
The news often talks about the country being plagued by political instability, economic mismanagement, military intervention and raging ethnic tensions. Yet it has stood the test of time and its burdened hardships.
The people of Myanmar have time and again personified the spirit for Tolerance and Non- violence. The country has produced the greatest awe inspiring leader of the modern era, named Daw (Madam) Aung San Suu Kyi. Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and more specifically by Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi undoubtedly is the figure this country needs to look upto.
Myanmar is a land with scores of cultural diversity. The country has around 20 major ethnic groups, along with greater number of dialects and languages. Some would vision diversity in culture as a tool to economic advancement; however Myanmar has experienced nothing but raging ethnic tensions.
The nation is headed by a civilian president and two vice presidents. The military remains an institution unto itself, and the head of the armed forces retains the right to invoke extraordinary powers including the ability to suspend civil liberties and abrogate parliamentary authority.
The country needs an image makeover. It needs the world to focus on more vital aspects that govern the spirit of Myanmar. Myanmar as we know it also a nation famous for its bounty scenic beauty. The international forum should be forced to focus on the 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) of coastline and some of the finest stretches of beach in Asia.
The world ought to talk about water throwing festival, which symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. It should be recognized for its appetite for betel nut, production of rice, dressing culture and the talent it beholds in the game of soccer. Myanmar needs to remind itself of the time when it dominated soccer in Southeast by winning the Asian Games twice in the 1960s and 1970. That in order to flourish the Myanmar government ought to remove the flaws in the system .The government needs to overcome the lack of inaccessibility and vagueness in its laws. It needs to introspect the unfairness of its laws and the arbitrary manner in which they are applied. The inaccessibility of the laws not only makes any meaningful study of the country’s legal system difficult, but also compounds the problems that litigants within Myanmar, especially defendants in criminal trials, are regularly subjected to in the preparation of their cases.
Myanmar needs to give credence to internationally accepted norms such as the principle of proclamation/notification, the principle of exceptional threat, the principle of proportionality, the principle of non-discrimination and the principle of inalienability of certain fundamental rights.
All the leading international human rights treaties require that governments do not, under any circumstances, derogate from certain ‘core’ rights which are considered so basic that they should be respected even during the gravest emergency. Myanmar to establish itself as a pioneer nation, needs to respect the right to life; the prohibition of torture; the prohibition of slavery; the prohibition of imprisonment for non- payment of civil debt; the prohibition of retro active penal measures; the right to recognition of legal personality; and freedom of conscience and religion. Before I conclude I would like to pick up an old saying goes 1 day 1 yard. Bagan won’t move. (Do it a little every day, and you’ll achieve).
Signing off…Myanmar from strength to strength Vibhor Gupta, Advocate