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Myanmar[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Myanmar purports to be in full compliance with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Following its accession to the CRC on July 15, 1991, Myanmar enacted the Child Law on July 14, 1993.   Section 13 of the Child Law reads:

 

13. (a) Every child who is capable of expressing his or her own views in accordance with his age and maturity has the right to express his own views in matters concerning children;

(b) The views of the child shall be given due weight in accordance with his age and maturity, by those concerned;

(c) The child shall be given the opportunity of making a complaint, being heard and defended in the relevant Government department, organization or court either personally or through a representative in accordance with law, in respect of his rights.

 

Section 13(c) suggests that children may speak directly or through a representative in the event of a protective proceeding, but the non-adversarial, non-court based nature of Myanmar's process for protecting abused and neglected children belies that possibility.  

 

Chapter 8 of the Child Law describes a process by which a child may be removed from a home if her parents are, as stated in Section 32(a), “cruel or wicked.”  Rather than relying upon formal court proceedings, the government entrusts the placement of abused and neglected children to Social Welfare Officers (SWO), who investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, and Directors General (DG), who review the recommendations of SWOs. 

 

SWOs are given authority under Section 33 of the Child Law to investigate suspected child abuse and remove children from homes, placing those children in government custody, as they see fit.  Under Section 33(c), an SWO's investigation may include interviewing children and/or parents as the SWO feels may be necessary.  The SWO also has the authority to question other witnesses to shed light on the child's condition. 

 

If, upon review of the SWO's investigation and recommendations, a DG determines that a child should be removed from his home, the child will be placed in the custody of the State or left to a custodian chosen by the DG.  Under Section 34(b), unless the DG determines otherwise, the child will remain in a State home or with the chosen guardian until she turns eighteen. 

 

The Child Law does not suggest that alternative protection measures may be taken by the SWO and the DG other than removal of the child.  However, Sections 65 and 66 outline criminal punishments for individuals who mistreat children.

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

The Child Law[2]

…

 

Chapter V

Rights of the Child

 

12. Every child:

(a) shall have the right to live with and be brought up by both parents or any one parent if they are alive;

(b) shall not be separated forcibly from his or her parents, except in a case where in accordance with law, separation is necessary for the best interests of the child;

(c) shall have the right to maintain contact on a regular basis with parents lawfully separated, if it is not prejudicial to the interests of the child;

(d) has the right to guardianship in accordance with law, in respect of his person or property.

              

13. (a) Every child who is capable of expressing his or her own views in accordance with his age and maturity has the right to express his own views in matters concerning children;

(b) The views of the child shall be given due weight in accordance with his age and maturity, by those concerned;

(c) The child shall be given the opportunity of making a complaint, being heard and defended in the relevant Government department, organization or court either personally or through a representative in accordance with law, in respect of his rights.

…

 

Chapter VIII

Child in Need of Protection or Care

 

32. The following child is a child in need of protection and care:-

 (d) one who is in the custody of a cruel or wicked parents or guardian …

 (h) one who is determined as such from time to time by the Social Welfare Department.

 

33. (a) Whoever is of the opinion that any child mentioned in section 32 should be protected and cared by the State may intimate the relevant Social Welfare Officer stating the facts of the case; (b) The Social Welfare Officer shall, on receipt of the intimation under sub-section (a) or if he has personally received information in any manner make investigations in the manner prescribed to determine whether or not the child needs the protection and care of the State and submit his findings together with his opinion to the Director General;

(c) The Social Welfare Officer has the following powers in respect of the investigation under sub-section (b) -

(i) informing the parents, guardian or police officer and causing the child to be brought before him;

(ii) entrusting the child to the parents or guardian on execution of a bond or sending the child to a temporary care station, before receiving the decision of the Director General.

(iii) calling and examining necessary witnesses;

(iv) hearing the explanation of the parents, guardian or the child, if necessary.

 

34. The Director General shall lay down and carry out any of the following arrangements if he finds, on scrutiny that the child needs the protection and care of the State according to the report submitted by the Social Welfare Officer: -

 (b) in the case of a child in need of custody and care, entrusting the child to a home or to a custodian till he attains the age of 18 years as a maximum period …

 

35. The Director General may direct the relevant Social Welfare Officer -

(a) to implement the arrangement laid down under section 34 in the manner prescribed;

(b) to entrust the child to the care of the parents or guardian on execution of a bond to the effect that they will take good care and control of the child, in the case of a child who has parents or guardian and who is found, on scrutiny to need only the custody and care of such parents or guardian;

(c) to entrust the child to the care of the parents or guardian, with or without execution of a bond, in the case of a child who is found, on scrutiny to have complied with the arrangement laid down under section 34, sub-section (a) or sub-section (c) for at least one year and whose moral character has improved.

 

36. The Director General may -
(a) exercise the power mentioned in section 35 sub-section (c) at his discretion or on the submission of the Principal of the relevant training school or Probation Officer or the parents or guardian;

(b) alter as may be necessary any arrangement laid down under section 34 sub-section (b), sub-section (d) or sub-section (e), if there is sufficient reason to do so;

(c) transfer a child committed to one training school to another training school, if there is sufficient reason to do so;

(d) grant the following rights in the manner prescribed to a child committed to a training school: -

(i) right to leave a training school as a temporary arrangement to be placed under the management and supervision of a home or a custodian;

(ii) right to travel on an emergency parole licence for the period required to visit his parents, guardian or near relative who is seriously ill.

(iii) right to live out on a parole licence;

(iv) right to live outside the training school with any suitable person under the management and supervision of the training school;

(e) delegate the powers conferred on him under this section to a Social Welfare Officer or a Principal of a training school.

…

 

Chapter XVII

Offences and Penalties

 

65. Whoever commits any of the following acts shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months or with fine which may extend to kyats 1000 or with both :-

(a) employing a permitting a child to perform work which is hazardous to the life of the child or which may cause disease to the child or which is harmful to the child's moral character;

(b) taking a child to or allowing him to enter a place where only alcohol is sold, sending the child to buy alcohol, selling alcohol to the child, permitting the child to take alcohol, employing or permitting the child to work in the business which trades in alcohol;

(c) urging, inducing or abetting the child to gamble;

(d) accepting as pledge any property from the child or abetting the child in any manner to pledge property;

(e) purchasing any property sold by a child, with the exception of purchasing property from a child who earns a livehood by selling;

(f) inducing a child to escape from a training school, home, temporary care station or custodian; abetting the run away; harbouring, concealing or preventing the child from going back to the original place, knowing that the child has escaped.

 

66. Whoever commits any of the following acts shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years or with fine which may extend to kyats 10,000 or with both: -

(a) neglecting knowingly that a girl under his guardianship, who has not attained the age of 16 is earning a livelihood by prostitution;

(b) permitting a child under his guardianship to live together or to consort with a person who earns a livelihood by prostitution;

(c) employing a child to beg for his personal benefit; failing to prevent a child under his guardianship from begging; making use of the child in any manner in his livelihood of begging;

(d) willfully maltreating a child, with the exception of the type of admonition by a parent, teacher or a person having the right to control the child, which is for the benefit of the child;

(e) inserting and announcing information revealing the identity of a child who is accused of having committed an offence or who is participating as a witness in any case, in the radio, cinema, television, newspapers, magazines, journals or publications and displaying or making use of the photograph of the child without the prior consent of the relevant juvenile court;

(f) using the child in pornographic cinema, video, television photography.

 

Local Contact Information

 

Despite our efforts, we were unable to find a contact person in Myanmar.

 

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

http://www.burmalibrary.org/reg.burma/archives/199701/msg00204.html

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] The Child Law, Law No. 9/93, Enacted by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (July 14, 1993 ), available at

http://www.blc-burma.org/html/Myanmar%20Law/lr_e_ml93_09.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

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