IBJ provides enhanced justice support in Myanmar during the State of Emergency 

Since the Myanmar military declared a State of Emergency on February 1, 2021, IBJ Myanmar has continued its work. Despite internet cuts, daily internal discussions continue apace using the Signal app, and IBJ Geneva is providing enhanced support for IBJ Myanmar. All of IBJ Myanmar’s administrative and programmatic staff, as well as its 21 staff lawyers, have been provided written guidelines on:

  • The emerging political context and the State of Emergency
  • Status update on communications, movements and transportation
  • IBJ points of contacts during emergencies
  • Personal security
  • Security of data and assets at Justice Centers
  • External communications and social media
  • Continued compliance with COVID-19 precautions

IBJ Myanmar has met with Union Legal Aid Board (ULAB) leadership to discuss enhanced support for ULAB, local LABs and individual lawyers during this critical period.  We are continuing our collaboration with the Independent lawyers Association of Myanmar (ILAM).

Additionally, all IBJ Justice Center lawyers have received written guidance on issues to consider     for casework during this sensitive time, including:

  • Basic principles to follow in taking cases
  • Safety and security of the staff at all times
  • Safeguarding the interest of clients
  • Handling politically sensitive cases
  • Strategy and communications protocols with clients and safeguarding data and information
  • Cooperation and networking with various bodies, including ILAM and ULAB
  • Referrals to lawyers outside IBJ’s Justice Centers

IBJ Under State of Emergency

  • All IBJ Myanmar lawyers on duty
  • Case referral to 100+ strong IBJ Community of Practice lawyers
  • Legal assistance provided to clients in-person + remotely
  • International training for lawyers about case practice under state of emergency
  • Ongoing collaboration + support for ULAB, local LABs + ILAM
  • Written primer in Burmese on Best Practices & Strategies for Defending Accused during Emergency Situations

Further, IBJ has conducted an online legal training for all its Justice Center lawyers on, Best Practices and Strategies for Defending Accused during Emergency Situations. The trainer is a defense lawyer with over 30 years of practice experience at local and international levels, including assisting Cambodian lawyers on the ground during the 1997 transfer to military rule. 

Finally, IBJ has prepared a comprehensive primer in Burmese for distribution entitled, Practice Tips for Representing Clients During the State of Emergency in Myanmar. This politically neutral primer was written to aid lawyers and other legal professionals to provide appropriate legal aid during the State of Emergency, compliant withthe law andethical codes. Legal interpretations and possible lawful legal defense strategies are provided for those accused of offenses, including:

  • Offenses Against the State 
  • Holding an Assembly or Procession Without Notification 
  • Violation of the Natural Disaster Management Law 
  • Offenses Affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals 
  • Violation of the Telecommunications Law
  • Criminal Intimidation, Insult, and Annoyance 
  • Offenses Against Public Tranquility (unlawful assembly or rioting)

This primer will be distributed to IBJ Myanmar’s staff lawyers, 100+ Community of Practice lawyers, as well as broader legal community.  

For more information on IBJ Myanmar programming, please contact International Program Director Sanjeewa Liyanage at