Over the past year Myanmar’s Parliament has been considering the development of a Right to Information Law. The drafts put forward have primarily focused on journalist freedom (which is increasingly under threat in Myanmar), but in theory there could be scope for introducing other provisions related to Namati’s work and the needs of our clients.
In the land rights space in Myanmar, one big barrier to resolving land grab cases is that the government institutions who hold land records are still controlled by the military, and often they will not release information to our paralegals that shows who the “official” owner is. There is a formal process for requesting information, but even so does not often yield this information.
In the citizenship space-- in which Namati is not yet working in Myanmar-- some of the issues are very similar. Colleagues from UN, Norwegian Refugee Council, Humanitarian Dialogue, and others who work on citizenship issues, say that in many instances the government has copies of the documents necessary to provide someone with a citizenship card, even if the client has lost his family’s copy of the records. But the government either doesn’t have the willingness or capacity to be forthcoming with these documents.
Do any teams (@namati_salone @namati_mozambique @namati_ej) or other organizations have experience with helping to develop their country’s right to information laws and in particular trying to expand them to include these types of administrative information that are critical to legal empowerment?