MYANMAR: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Myanmar's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights 

Status of the CRC in national law

Article 456 of the Constitution of Myanmar requires the State to honour all legitimate obligations arising out of treaties or agreements which have been in operation since before the Constitution came into force in 2008. However, international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, must be incorporated through additional legislation in order to be directly applicable in Myanmar's courts. The Convention has not been incorporated and so cannot be directly applied. It is not clear whether national courts have cited or referenced the Convention and, if so, to what effect.

Constitution: Chapter VII of the Constitution of Myanmar includes a number of rights provisions that apply regardless of age and a small number of provisions that specifically relate to children can be found throughout the Constitution:

  • Article 28: requires the State to strive to improve education and health of the people and to implement free, compulsory primary education system.

  • Article 32: provides that the State shall care for mothers and children, orphans, fallen Defence Services personnel's children, the aged and persons with disabilities.

  • Article 35: provides that mothers, children and expectant women shall enjoy equal rights as prescribed by law.

  • Article 366: provides that every citizen, in accordance with national education policy, has the right to education; and shall be given basic education which shall be compulsory in law.

Legislation: the Child Law contains many of the national legal provisions in relation to children, though provisions relevant to children can be found in a number of Laws, Rules and Regulations. Legislation of particular relevance to children includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • The Child Law

  • The Rules on the Child Law

  • The Penal Code

  • The Criminal Procedure Code

  • The Myanmar Citizenship Law

  • The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act

  • The Myanmar Adoption Law

  • The Myanmar Maternal and Child welfare Association Law

  • The Development of Border Areas and National Races Law

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law

Legal Research

The texts of recent laws are published on the website of the President of Myanmar ( and the website of the Supreme Court of Myanmar provides access to national legislation in English and Myanamr ( The International Labour Organisation website, NATLEX, also provides access to a selection of legislation in English ( as does the World Law Guide ( In addition, the World Legal Information Institute (, the Asian Legal Information Institute ( and the US Law Library of Congress ( all provide access to a selection of legal and governmental resources in English and Myanmar.

Case Law

CRC Jurisprudence

Please contact CRIN if are aware of any cases before national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research

The Supreme Court of Myanmar maintains a page dedicated to the judgments of the court in English and Myanmar, but at the time of writing, no content was available (

Compliance with the CRC (

In its Concluding Observations of 2012, the Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that the State had indicated that it intended to review of the Child Law but the Committee expressed concern that in a number of areas of domestic law, the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child had not been fully incorporated. The Committee also expressed concern that disparities between codified and customary laws may undermine the State's efforts to harmonise legislation with the Convention.

In depth analysis

Perhaps the most basic of the inconsistencies between Myanmar law and the Convention that the Committee raised was in relation to the definition of the child. In its Concluding Observations of 2012, the Committee expressed concern that a under the Child Law, a child was defined as a person under the age of 16 while children aged 16 to 18 were classified as “youths”. The Committee also highlighted the absence of a minimum age of marriage for boys and the low minimum age of marriage for girls (14 years). The corresponding recommendations urged the State to review its legislation to ensure that any person below the age of 18 is defined as a child to establish the minimum legal age for marriage at 18 years for boys and girls.

The Committee also expressed serious concern about violence against children in a number of settings within national law. Specifically, the Committee raised concern at reports that children had been detained and tortured as political prisoners and that violence against children remained prevalent within society. The Committee urged the State to explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against children in all settings, including corporal punishment, and to effectively investigate reports of violence and prosecute perpetrators.

The juvenile justice system was also a major source of concern for the Committee, specifically with regards to the very low minimum age of criminal responsibility (7 years); the high number of children in pretrial detention; the prevalence of physical punishment of children in conflict with the law; the scarcity of specialised juvenile courts; the poor conditions in places of detention for children; and the lack of appropriate measures within the juvenile justice system to facilitate the social reintegration of children. The Committee urged the State to implement systemic reform of the juvenile justice system, including by amending the Child Law to bring it into conformity with the Convention.

Current legal reform projects

As of the State's 2012 review by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Myanmar reported that it was in the process of drafting a law on the the rights of persons with disabilities.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.