BACKGROUND

Aung San Suu Kyi, Wojciech Sadurski and Janelle Saffin, MP

Myanmar is in the midst of a transition to constitutional democracy. The adoption of a new constitution in 2008, the release of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011 and free and fair by-elections in 2012 have set off a cascade of changes in how the country is governed. It is critical that the people of Myanmar lead these reforms but to do this they require the tools necessary to secure enduring constitutional stability.

Formed in June 2013, the Myanmar Constitutional Reform Project exists to meet this need and to ensure Myanmar has the benefit of the highest quality advice as it weighs up constitutional options. It evolved from the inaugural Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Workshop, Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Workshop, organized by a team of scholars led by Professor Wojciech Sadurski, held in Yangon from 8–10 May 2013, and is driven by the team of academics and practitioners responsible for that initiative. The workshop brought together for the first time all major political parties, military officials and representatives from the judiciary, academia and civil society to discuss and debate the Myanmar’s constitutional reform agenda. The talks culminated in a cross-party agreement to introduce significant changes to the current constitution.

The Project will offer a structured mechanism for ongoing collaboration among academics around the world working towards stable constitutional democracy in Myanmar. It is apolitical and works all stakeholders in Myanmar’s transition.