Equality Myanmar (EQMM) is a grassroots nonprofit based in Myanmar that promotes human rights education and advocacy. The Capstone team collaborated with EQMM to support their campaign around Myanmar’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), conducted under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. Myanmar is home to the longest ongoing civil war and one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world today. As Myanmar transitions towards a democracy after 75 years of isolation, the UPR serves as an important mechanism to promote accountability for human rights violations and push for lasting solutions.
The project had two major workstreams. First, the team supported the preparation of a joint stakeholder report for submission to the UPR - a product of a diverse coalition of 28 civil society organizations convened by EQMM. Through editing, fact-checking, and drafting an original section, the team sought to strengthen the cogency of the coalition’s discourse on issues of utmost urgency, including: Armed Conflict and Peace; Human Trafficking; Land; Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law; Political Prisoners, Torture and Arrest; Citizenship; Freedom of Religion and Belief; Freedom of Expression and Assembly and Press Freedom; Gender and LGBTQ+ ; Disability Rights; and Myanmar’s international commitments and cooperation. Second, the team supported EQMM’s UPR advocacy strategy, creating eleven thematic briefs with key issues and recommendations to be used during advocacy meetings and outreach efforts. Additionally, the team researched statements and policy positions of UN Member States with respect to each theme, compiling a reference database to inform EQMM’s state-specific advocacy. The team also compiled its research into a final presentation that will be used by EQMM in future advocacy training workshops with coalition members, in lieu of an in-person advocacy skills workshop in Yangon that was cancelled due to COVID-19. This final presentation will be used by EQMM in future advocacy training workshops with coalition members.