Burma Lawyers Council
The Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) is an independent organization that was formed in a liberated area of Burma in 1994. After the military seized power in Burma in 1962, and after the student uprising in 1988, the pro-democracy movement consisted mainly of students who were committed to the path of armed resistance. Many townspeople, however, from all walks of life, were also committed to the return of democracy by resisting the military through the various means at their disposal. With this in mind, lawyers came together and formed what has now become an integral part of the pro-democracy movement.
The BLC is the only organization in the democratic movement of Burma which contributes to the promotion of human rights solely from the legal perspective. It is neither aligned with nor under the authority of any political organization.
Under the Burmese military dictatorship, the oppressive laws, and the non-independent system of justice, the common people are denied their basic rights. It is the Burma Lawyers' Council's aim to vigorously oppose all unfair and oppressive laws in Burma, and to restore the basic principles of the Rule of Law. We believe that the emergence of a modern, advanced, peaceful, and democratic Union in Burma is only possible when the basic principles of the Rule of Law are put into practice and adhered to. The objectives of the BLC are (1) to promote the educating, implementing, restoring and improving of basic human rights, democratic rights and the rule of law in Burma; (2) to assist in drafting and implementing a constitution for Burma, and in associated matters of legal education; and (3) to participate and cooperate in the emergence of civil society in Burma.
The BLC is also dedicated to communicating with overseas legal associations and legal academics to obtain their advice, assistance and cooperation. The BLC additionally works to assist the democratic forces to the best of its ability in all legal matters. The BLC’s primary activities include: • Assisting Burmese migrant workers who are victims, defendants or otherwise involved in legal cases in Thailand. • Providing training in legal matters and civil society to political, ethnic, women's and youth organizations, as well as activists from inside Burma. • Analyzing the misapplication of Burmese and international laws in legal cases and judicial decisions, and disseminating analysis statements to raise awareness and bring about action at the local and international levels. • Publishing journals in Burmese and English on Burmese legal issues. • Analyzing the Burmese military regime's constitution and assisting in the drafting of a parallel constitution based on the rule of law and democratic values. • Operating a two-year Advanced Internship Program in Human Rights and Law at the BLC's Peace Law Academy. • Spearheading a campaign to seek criminal accountability at the International Criminal Court for heinous crimes that have occurred in Burma. • Participating in radio interviews, television programs and other media events to inform and raise awareness inside Burma and around the world about key legal issues.