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Myanmar Environmental Legal Services

Yangon, Myanmar
Joined March 2019

Myanmar Environmental Legal Service works to protect the environment, to improve environmental governance and to implement environmental related laws in Myanmar.

Presence in: Myanmar
Focus: Environmental Justice

Foundation of MELS

Myanmar Environmental Legal Services (MELS) was initiated and founded by a public interest environmental lawyer who have been providing environmental legal aid for more than three years as Bertha Justice Fellows and staff of Earth Rights International. The establishment of MELS is counseled by the Vermont Law School and the Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law with support and assistance from relevant environmental public welfare organizations.


MELS Vision Statement

To protect the environment, to improve environmental governance and to implement environmental related laws in Myanmar.

MELS aim

MELS aims to promote and enhance Myanmar’s rule of law and achieve environmental justice through providing legal aid, filing public interest litigation cases, carrying out case-based research, developing national and international exchanges and cooperation programs, and building the capacities of qualified lawyers.

MELS mission statement

  • To provide free legal services for victims of environmental pollution and damage in order to push for justice.
  • To improve public awareness of environmental law and environmental rights in Myanmar through education and advocacy.
  • To promote environmental public interest litigation, the development of environmental public interest law, and establish and implement an environmental legal aid mechanism in Myanmar.
  • To monitor policies and practices relating to environmental litigation, and advocate for the development of a more equitable environmental legal regime in Myanmar.
  • To build the capacities of environmental public interest lawyers through the development of national and international networks designed for knowledge sharing.

People Associated With This Organization

Oo Kyaw Thein

Myanmar Environmental Legal Services
Joined March 2019
Interests: Environmental Justice
I am an environmental lawyer and specialized in earth rights, the defense of human rights and the environment. I earned my LL.B from the University of Dagon, Yangon and received a diploma in International Relations from Yangon University as well as a diploma in Political Management from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Yangon. I have also studied political science, Environmental Science, International Environmental Laws, rule of law, human rights, conflict resolution and peace research through the University of Oslo, Norway and the American Center, Yangon.
I have 10 (ten) years experience as a lawyer and 6 (six) years experience in issues relating to natural resource management issues in Rakhine land cases. I have over 6 (six) years of general experience in broader environmental law and resources matters, with specific experience in environmental conservation law.
Since 2008 I have practiced law in criminal cases in Yangon region and Rakhine state. I have represented more than 70 land related cases. In 2012, I participated in a three months course about the ‘Transition to Democracy’ at the Educational Initiatives, in Chiang Mai, Thailand organized by Igor Blazevic. Afterwards, I attended the ‘Mekong Lawyers' Advocacy Training’ (MLAT) conducted by EarthRights International in Chiang Mai.
I worked in the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL) in October 2014 to June 2015 to advise on an association registration law reform project and to implement a series of freedom of association training for local CSOs in Myanmar. I also conducted land rights training for communities in Aung Pan township, Shan State, Kayah State and Rakhine State.
I joined in the EarthRights International as a legal advisor and Bertha Legal Fellow in 1 April 2016. I leaved this position on 21 December 2018. During this time, I represented Earth Rights Defenders in court cases and I provided advice, together with the ERI campaign team, on the following areas - Extractive Industries, Mega-Projects, Land Rights and Clean Environment, Earth Rights Defenders and Climate Change and Climate Justice.
With the ERI team, I developed and conducted a number of consultations, workshops and training relating with environmental conservation and governance for Government departments, civil societies and communities in Mandalay.
I have experience in protecting environmental rights through training and awareness workshops, legal advocacy to Government departments and MPs and representing communities and individuals in courts. And, I also have experiences of promoting the environmental conservation law, rule and EIA procedure by conducting environmental rights training and workshop in Mandalay and Kyauk Phyu.
In current, as a director with Myanmar Environmental Legal Services Ltd., I will work with the my legal team to pioneer the use of environmental law and innovative legal strategies to protect and promote environmental justice and human rights.
Oo Kyaw Thein is the network champion (main point of contact) for Myanmar Environmental Legal Services.

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