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Convening the 3rd meeting of the Mekong Legal Network
by Ross Dana Flynn
Tomorrow marks the start of the 3rd Mekong Legal Network (MLN) meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Public interest legal professions and civil society leaders from all six of the Mekong countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam), representing both international and local organizations, will be discussing their work, sharing experiences, and developing legal strategies to address key human rights and environmental concerns in the Mekong region. They will be joined by friends and allies from around the world, including ERI's co-founders Katie Redford and Ka Hsaw Wa. The broad themes of the three day meeting include business, human rights and the environment in ASEAN, proposed hydropower projects along the Mekong River mainstream, and investment trends and developments inside Burma.
On the final day of the meeting, the MLN participants will come together with the participants in ERI's new Myanmar Advocacy Training to meet, hear from experts, and discuss joint strategies to address emerging business and human rights challenges as Burma increasingly opens up to regional and international investment and influence. The discussion will focus on issues facing lawyers and legal institutions in the country, the experiences of veteran Burmese lawyers and civil society members, along with frameworks for responsible investment by foreign corporations.
Throughout the meeting, participants will form small groups to exchange ideas on how lawyers and civil society in the Mekong countries can work together and generate support at both the regional and international level. We're very excited to see MLN's members using legal strategies to empower communities facing earth rights abuses, and we'll share more details about this event after it concludes.
The video below was filmed at the last MLN meeting, in late 2011.