Global Advancement in Women’s Rights Under International Law: How the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar Violates International Laws Guaranteeing Women’s Rights
The rights of women under international law, including the right to occupy―not just run for―positions of political power, have radically advanced over the last 20 years. Under international law, a democracy based on true political participation requires that women, including ethnic minorities, occupy positions of power. In Burma, the allocation of positions of power should be commensurate with the fact that women are one-half of the population of Burma. International laws binding upon Burma, including Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW”), require significant numbers of women in all areas of governance, including ceasefire and peace treaty negotiations, constitution drafting committees, political party candidates for office, and executive branch appointments, including diplomats. International humanitarian law (“IHL”)―the corpus of laws governing armed conflict―now recognizes the rights of women victims of armed conflict to accountability for all forms of gender crimes (see 2012 Global Justice Center Report “The Gender Gap and Women’s Political Power in Myanmar/Burma”). International tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were set up (in 1993 and 1994, respectively) by the United Nations (“UN”), with their statutes requiring the appointment of a significant number of women judges and prosecution for gender crimes. Additionally, the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) explicitly requires prosecution for gender crimes; in fact, the ICC prosecutor is mandated to take affirmative remedial steps to address sexual violence.