Law and Constitution
The legal material in this section is divided into (1) Introductory and general; (2) Thematic - Burmese legislation divided into specific areas of law; and (3) Chronological, from the British period to the present ... In the Thematic area, the material is divided into Texts and Commentary. Texts are (1) adopted laws ("Laws", "Acts"); (2) Bills (legislation proposed but not yet adopted); (3) implementing instruments ("rules", "regulations", "procedures", by(e)-laws" etc.) all of which we call "Regulations"... (4) Orders, notifications, announcements, orders etc. we call Decrees... Most commentaries are by the Government, the UN, NGOs, scholars or journalists.
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Legal pluralism covers situations where more than one legal culture are present. In Burma/Myanmar there is the Anglo-Burmese statutory law (including special legislation for non-Buddhist communities), Burmese and non-Burmese customary law, legal codes drafted by various non-state actors as well as the gradual entry of international human rights and other standards...In our view, legal pluralism has an important place in the peace process.
Legal sources and literature
"LawKa Pala - Legal Journal on Burma" (English)
Formerly "Legal Issues on Burma Journal"...
Despite the name, this is a distinct journal, and not simply the English version of the Burmese-language "LawKa pala" (formerly "Journal of Constitutional Affairs"). The BLC site is currently (permanently?) offline, but alternate links to the BLC site are provided in case it returns.
Economic, Social and Cultural issues
In this and the following sections the material is divided into Texts and Commentary. The texts may be adopted laws ("Laws", "Acts") or bills (legislation proposed but not yet adopted) or implementing instruments ("rules", "regulations", "directives", "notifications", "procedures" etc.)
Constitutional and parliamentary processes
The 1990 elections and the National Convention process
In the wake of the SLORC's refusal to transfer power following the 1990 elections, it claimed that a new constitution would first have to be written. The National Convention, most of whose members were hand-picked by SLORC, first met in January 1993 with the goal of drafting the basic elements for such a constitution. However, "the representatives elected by the people are those who have the responsibility to draw up the constitution of the future democratic State" (para 20 of Declaration 1/90).
The National Convention (preparations, procedures, proceedings, legislation, statements etc.)
The material for the sessions of the National Convention beginning 17 May 2004 is taken from the online versions of "The New Light of Myanmar". The files for the 1993-1996 sessions are extracted from Hugh MacDougall's "The Burma Press Summary" (BPS), 1987-1996 (for the complete BPS archive, click the link on this library's home page). The reports are transcribed or summarised from the SLORC and SPDC press, "The Working People's Daily" (WPD), re-named "The New Light of Myanmar" (NLM) in 1993. The record is therefore ultimately from SLORC and SPDC sources. It is incomplete and cannot be taken as entirely unbiased. However, there are many full text documents, including speeches and official announcements, which makes the archive extremely useful, and perhaps the only source for those who do not have access to the original newspapers. The "Reports on meetings of the National Convention Convening Commission" are from the SPDC website. There is a gap in the record from end 1996 when the BPS ceased, to early 1998.
It is interesting to note that, apart from the reports of the statements by military leaders, the reports of the 2004 sessions are almost entirely lacking in substance (the bulk of the reporting is devoted to lists of names and organisations and what the general topic was, but no detail) whereas the reports of the sessions between 1993 and 1996 contain summaries and even full texts of the statements of the various delegates -- as well, of course, as full texts of the SLORC statements. The versions of the 2004 sessions in OBL have had the photos removed for speedier downloading. To see the very revealing photos, click on the Source at the foot of each report or group of reports.
The National Convention (texts of Principles)
These documents contain the texts of the "Principles laid down to serve as bases in prescribing State Fundamental Principles ("the 104 principles") as well as the "detailed basic principles" elaborated later.