Inter Pares begins new program to promote inclusive governance in Burma

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Women's march in the street of Burma
A women’s walk for peace: with many of Inter Pares counterparts. Credit: Khin Ohmar

In January 2016, Inter Pares began implementing a new program to support the development of a more pluralistic Burma with a vibrant civil society. 

Entitled Inclusive Democracy in Burma, the five-year program is supported by the Government of Canada and will benefit conflict-affected people in Burma. Together with thirty-eight community-based organisations, Inter Pares will promote the inclusion of ethnic and religious minorities in Burma’s transition to democracy and peace.

“While we are encouraged by the current reforms in Burma, gender inequality remains deeply entrenched, and the need to protect women from violence remains as acute as ever. We are therefore expanding our work in different areas of Burma, and pushing for increased women’s political participation at every level, particularly in the current peace process. We look forward to continued support from Canada for this critically important work over the coming years,” noted the General Secretary of the Women’s League of Burma, one of the program’s partners.

The $19-million program will:

•   advance democracy through documenting rights abuses, supporting women’s leadership, developing community-driven policies on development issues, and increasing access to information

•   strengthen health systems through comprehensive primary healthcare, reducing infant and child mortality, building upon existing community health systems towards national healthcare

•   build resilience through supporting community ownership of the development processes that affect marginalized communities, and increasing capacities for refugees to build sustainable communities when it is appropriate for them to return

“We are very pleased with the Government of Canada’s commitment through this program to support peace and democracy in Burma. While there has been significant progress in the country, there is much work to do,” commented Kevin Malseed, Inter Pares Burma Program Manager. Rebecca Wolsak, Inter Pares Burma Program Manager, noted that “after over sixty years of conflict, at this time of transition, it’s critically important to promote the inclusion of ethnic and religious minorities. We undertake careful, inclusive, programming through the strong relationships we’ve built with local community organizations.”

Inter Pares has worked in Burma for over twenty years with funds raised from the Canadian public and the Government of Canada. Through funding support, capacity-building, learning exchanges, and advocacy, Inter Pares has helped to strengthen local civil society and assist hundreds of thousands of people displaced and harmed by armed conflict.

Inter Pares draws on forty years of experience and a worldwide activist network to challenge inequality around the world. Known for a progressive and innovative approach to international cooperation, Inter Pares supports people’s struggles to build societies that are fair for all. Together with over 120 counterparts in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and here in Canada, we identify the root causes of injustice and act for sustainable social change.

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