ILEX Trip to Myanmar and Cambodia

Vol. 43 No. 3


For this year’s International Legal Exchange (ILEX) trip, a Section delegation visited Myanmar (sometimes referred to as Burma) and Cambodia in February. Delegates included lawyers, law professors, judges, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations and law schools and were from the United States, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Argentina, and Korea. They met with members of the bar, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), government officials, law school representatives, and business leaders.

In Myanmar, the delegation enjoyed a briefing from Allison Moore, a contractor on the ground with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). They heard an excellent panel presentation by attorneys working with local and foreign firms. The presentation, sponsored by Allen & Overy LLP, focused on practicing in Myanmar. They met with U.S. Embassy officials, as well as NGO staff members, to hear about efforts to address human rights, environmental, and rule of law issues. They visited the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCC) and other business leaders to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for doing business in Myanmar. Highlights also included a meeting with aides to opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to present her with the SIL’s 2014 World Order under Law Award. Participants additionally met with reprepresentatives from the Myanmar Parliament’s Rule of Law and Bills Committees, Supreme Court, and Attorney General’s Office. They received an impressive briefing from Dr. Zaw Oo, economic advisor to Myanmar’s president.

In Cambodia, the delegation were briefed by U.S. Embassy officials and expatriate law firm representatives. They met with leaders of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia and engaged in a colloquium with local NGO personnel. The delegation visited the Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeng Ek (also known as the “killing fields”) for historical perspective before meeting with jurists, prosecutors, and public defenders at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the war crimes tribunal operated jointly by the UN and Kingdom of Cambodia to address Pol Pot regime atrocities.

The exchange of ideas generated support for Myanmar’s and Cambodia’s ongoing efforts to develop rule of law and human rights initiatives. Delegates were also interested in supporting sustainable growth in foreign direct investment and corporate social responsibility for the region’s burgeoning enterprises.

The Section is working on initiatives to respond to requests for assistance. These potentially will include collaboration with the UN Global Compact on corporate social responsibility training and monitoring, supportive training for UNDP rule of law centers, development of resources for NGOs, and training about international contracts, mediation, and arbitration for the UMFCC. ILEX delegation members will be coordinating to make these efforts as targeted as possible. If you would like to be involved, contact SIL International Projects Director Christina Heid,


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