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UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal

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From a Distance: A "Disciplined" Democracy Comes Undone in Myanmar


The author of this essay, a practicing lawyer and clinical law instructor, encountered remote learning in Myanmar (AKA Burma) while serving as international leader on a university clinical teaching initiative, under the auspices of the European Union and British Council. A military coup d’état last year abruptly disrupted that country’s transition to democratic governance, with arrests, detentions, killings and curtailing of fundamental rights. The coup has prompted two questions for both short- and long-term consideration for justice educators: First, what are the options—and then obligations—for those who teach and otherwise engage with colleagues abroad, to support their institutional or other political struggles? Second, to what extent should collaboration in initiating or strengthening legal educational innovation—grounded in principles of access to justice and rule of law—continue in the context of a stratocracy or similar authoritarian state?

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