Myanmar is changing quite rapidly and quite dramatically. This five-year research project is about the history and consequences of imprisonment in Myanmar and about how the contemporary penal system responds to current political developments.
Detention practices offer a unique window onto broader dynamics of state formation and onto the central relationship between the state and its people. Through this research project we will study the ways in which detention practices contribute to or detract from the establishment and maintenance of democracy and peace in Myanmar. This will involve a particular focus on the experiences, technologies and politics of detention.
We expect that practices of detention in Myanmar will continue to serve as an indicator of regime legitimacy and that social scientific understanding of these practices can serve a vital role in grounding and informing reform efforts and activism within a highly contested local and global space.
Through collaboration with the law faculty at the University of Yangon and the organisation Justice for All the project will contribute to knowledge generation and the development of the capacity of lawyers in the field of human rights and detention. Collaboration will involve the development of course modules and the joint development and supervision of case-based studies as well as the facilitation of seminars and workshops for relevant stakeholders. In addition, we will endeavour to strengthen links and facilitate dialogue opportunities between academia, civil society and state authorities.
- To strengthen research-based and policy-relevant understandings of the historical and contemporary role of detention in Myanmar and its significance for state formation.
- To generate field-based knowledge about the history and consequences of detention and explore how the contemporary penal system responds to the current political thaw.
- To illuminate people’s experiences of detention and the ways in which detention practices contribute to or detract from the establishment and maintenance of democracy and peace.
- To explain the ambiguous and contested nature of detention practices and efforts to reform them and offer insights to policy-makers committed to supporting nascent moves toward rule of law and the realization of democracy and human rights.
- To apply field-based methodologies and promote research-led policy debates on the relationship between state formation and detention.