Civil Society

Authored by: Christina Fink , Adam Simpson

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138820777
eBook ISBN: 9781315743677
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the reform process was initiated in 2011, the legal space for civil society organisations (CSOs) has expanded. This has enabled CSOs to play important, and newly visible, roles in educating and informing citizens, galvanising national attention to critical issues of concern to citizens – including those who are less than liberal – and engaging with the government in certain policy and legislative arenas. Nevertheless, the Thein Sein government’s authoritarian lineage and its concern over public criticism led it to constrain the emerging sector. After the NLD won a landslide election victory in 2015, CSOs looked forward to more inclusive policy-making but found that the NLD leadership tended to make decisions on its own. Mindful of the fragility and limitations of the democratic transition, civil society actors were muted in their critique of the new government but continued to voice concerns and promote policy reform by linking their agendas to the NLD government’s stated commitment to the rule of law, peace and national reconciliation.

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