U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

Can you please give us an overview of the corruption status in Burma?

Purpose

We are preparing an analysis of our development cooperation programs in Burma

Content

1. Forms and Extent of Corruption in Burma
2. Anti-Corruption Efforts in Burma
3. Resources

Summary

After more than four decades of military rule, political violence and systematic repression of democratic opposition, Burma held its first general elections in 2010, and is passing through major economic and political reforms. Parliamentarian by-elections were held in 2012 with Aung San Suu Kyi party (National League for Democracy) receiving the overwhelmingly majority of votes. Such reforms and the significant and seemingly genuine opening up of the country have encouraged the United States and the European Union to lift trade embargoes against the country. However, the military continues to exercise influence in politics and despite improvements, restriction on media and civil society organisations, as well as human rights violations continue. Against this background, Burma continues to face
major challenges of endemic corruption, consistently ranking at the bottom of TI’S Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Little is known on the specific forms and patterns of corruption in the country, but the scale of the informal and illicit economy suggests strong links between the ruling elite and organised crime activities. In the absence of sound democratic institutions and an effective system of checks and balance, the legal and institutional frameworks against corruption appear, to date, rudimentary and are likely to be misused for political reasons. On a more positive note, the recent elected government has demonstrated willingness to improve the country’s institutional and legal framework as well as the space for political participation.

Authors

Marie Chêne, U4 Helpdesk, Transparency International, mchene@transparency.org updated by Maira Martini, Transparency International, mmartini@transparency.org

Date

01/10/2012

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