Women’s groups call for new constitution

A landmark women’s forum has concluded in Rangoon, with a call for the 2008 constitution to be completely rewritten.

Over 400 persons attended the weekend-long conference, which was jointly hosted by the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) and the Women’s Organization Network.

The WLB said that the purpose of the event was to help establish a peaceful nation through unity among women.

Susanna Hla Hla Soe of the Women’s Organization Network said the participants discussed ways of getting women to take up leading roles in Burma’s peace-building process, as well as to promote women’s rights in the country.

“Besides discussing the topic ‘Women and Peace’, we also discussed subjects titled ‘Women and the Law’, ‘Women and Gender’ and ‘Women and Decision Making’,” she said.

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WLB general-secretary Tin Tin Nyo said the participants also had an extensive discussion on the controversial National Race Protection Law which they expanded to include a “Law for the Protection of Women”.

“The National Race Protection Law actually adds more restrictions to women’s rights,” said Tin Tin Nyo. “As women, we believe that we are capable of decision-making and are able to shape our own lives. We know what is right for us and what is wrong.

“We are looking to carry out campaigns that support women’s development against the backdrop of a conservative, backward-thinking mind-set.”

She added that representatives may also seek meetings with senior Buddhist monks.

Tin Tin Nyo said that simply amending the constitution was not enough—the women’s groups were calling for a complete rewrite of the 2008 document.

She said the groups at the forum will also sign a petition urging President Thein Sein to release women activists Naw Ohn Hla, Myint Myint Aye, Bauk Ja and Mi Mi Khin who are serving jail terms.

 

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