May 2018

Legal Clinic Myanmar conducts stakeholder meetings in local community.

Phyu Phyu* is a 15-year-old girl who dropped out of primary school in the Kyone Kan village in Irrawaddy Region. She lives in a remote area with her mother who suffers from mental illness. She was raped and beaten by a 19-year-old man from a wealthy village family. Phyu suffered physical injuries to her face and body, including a broken arm, as well as mental trauma from the attack. Her aunt contacted the Myanmar Women’s Affairs (MWA) organization, which sent a paralegal trained by the Legal Clinic Myanmar (LCM) to meet Phyu while she was still in the hospital. LCM is funded by a grant from the Promoting the Rule of Law Project (PRLP), a USAID-funded activity implemented by Tetra Tech. The paralegal shared information about LCM services and connected Phyu with the local LCM office in Pyarpone Township.

LCM provided a lawyer who supported Phyu Phyu throughout the case, acting as her advocate to help her understand the legal process and instructing her how to be an effective witness. The lawyer reviewed court statements from the police and the victim to ensure they were accurate. On March 28, 2018 , after a trial, the judge convicted the perpetrator and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. LCM also provided social support and counseling for Phyu Phyu and connected her with the Department of Social Welfare and World Vision to provide Phyu with further medical treatment.

LCM, with grant funding from PRLP, provides legal aid services in 9 townships, including 7 townships in Irrawaddy (Pyarpon, Dedaye, Kyeik Latt, Pathein, Kangyidaung, Kyaung Kone, and Yaykyi) and 2 townships in Kachin State (Myitkyina and Wine Maw). LCM established offices in Pyarpon and Myitkyina to offer free legal aid services. The offices are currently handling 57 court cases, have provided legal advice, counseling, and mediation services in 212 cases (118 in Irrawaddy and 94 in Kachin) and operate a 24-hour legal aid hotline in both areas to facilitate these services.

LCM also provides social support for victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Their work has increased access to justice for marginalized populations, not only through the provision of legal and social services, but by engagement with local government authorities and justice sector stakeholders, including roundtable discussions in the 9 target townships. PRLP provides technical assistance, capacity development, and grants to promote Myanmar’s democratic transition. PRLP support to LCM, and other civil society organizations has built these organizations’ capacity to engage in advocacy, promote the rule of law, and protect human rights in Myanmar.

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