Burma’s prison system has consistently exposed its prisoners to harsh conditions and brutal treatment. Despite the initiation of democratic reforms since 2010 and the release of many political prisoners, Burma continues to violate the human rights of prisoners. Currently, Burma’s prison system does not meet the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the state has started debating a draft Prison Law to conform to these basic standards. While the law addresses many of the Burmese prison system’s most egregious violations of the Standard Minimum Rules, many civil society activists have criticized the draft law for failing to meet their demands and ensure the protection of prisoners and adherence to international standards.
The Public International Law and Policy Group (“PILPG”), a pro bono international law firm, is providing legal assistance to Burmese civil society organization to develop effective advocacy campaigns and to draft legislation and policy proposals. Students in this Practicum will provide guidance to PILPG in support of its work with its Burmese Civil society clients. Students in this Practicum will focus in particular on assisting Burmese civil society organizations advocating for legal reforms to the state’s prison system. Students will research and prepare a memorandum analyzing the prison laws and regulations in states within the South Asian (ASEAN) region. This memorandum will provide examples of how states have incorporated the relevant international legally binding human rights instruments as well as key non-binding international standards on the treatment of prisoners into their domestic legal framework. The memorandum will also identify and analyze mechanisms used by regional states for prison and correctional facility oversight and monitoring, as well as mechanisms aimed at ensuring enforcement of the rights of prisoners.