Title: Creating Democratic Space in Myanmar: The Role of Civil Society Organizations
Author: Tay Zar Moe Myint
Keywords: DEMOCRATIC SPACE/CIVIL SOCIETY
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been present and operating in Myanmar/Burma. The thesis argues that some CSOs in Burma are trying to reach out the poorest sectors of the country's populations, bringing to them development assistance for those who faced economic and social problems, and others are being seen as an agent for democratization process through its political engagement in public arena. The study then tries to find out how civil society organizations in Burma create democratic space under the authoritarian regime.
The study tries to understand present framework of the relationship between state and civil society organizations. The study chose the 88 Generation Students as a social movement organization which fights for democracy. It also chose Shalom Foundation as local NGO which focus on democratization. It also attempts to identify various approaches, strategies and ideologies of the organizations and examines strengths and weaknesses of them. It also analyzes the limitation of Burmese democracy and available space for CSOs in fostering democratization process in Burma.
The study concludes that there are limited political opportunities for CSOs in Burma to successfully bring about democracy at the national level, but there are certain political opportunities for NGOs, as part of civil society organizations working under humanitarian approach, to expand and politicize its existing public space and can be seen as a condition for fostering long-term democratization process inside the country.
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