Without regulations, ethnic rights and culture departments stalled

Signs for departments of ethnic literature and culture and ethnic rights protection hang on a building in Mawlamyine. (Photo: MNA) Signs for departments of ethnic literature and culture and ethnic rights protection hang on a building in Mawlamyine. (Photo: MNA)

Mon State has established offices for its Ethnic Literature and Culture Department and Ethnic Rights Protection Department, but neither is able to get down to brass tacks with the legal framework still unfinished.

The law to protect ethnic minorities was approved by Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in February 2015, but the regulations never made it past the drafting phase.

Officials at the Mawlamyine ethnic protection department say their work is severely curtailed without the regulations. The office heads have been allowed to establish a brick and mortar location and begin research on potential areas for activities, but nothing more.

“[The draft regulations] are not finished yet. We can implement various projects only after the regulations. We are temporarily serving here at the moment,” U Chit Zaw Linn, chief officer at the Ethnic Rights Protection Department, told Mon News Agency.

According to the Mon State Ethnic Rights Protection Department, it doesn’t appear like the regulations will be in place any time soon, as the draft is only at initial stage.

U Chit Zaw Linn added that after the regulations are passed, the department will set up branch offices and appoint staff.

U Ba Swe, deputy director of the Ethnic Literature and Culture Department, said his office is especially anxious to start in on the ethnic language teaching.

“We will gather scholars from respective ethnic groups and discuss curricula to use for [summer] ethnic language teachings. We will cooperate so that the different ethnic languages can use one [curriculum],” he said.

The law to protect ethnic minorities safeguards the right to study ethnic language and literature, as well as to practice other elements of culture and tradition.

Translated by Aong Jaeneh
Edited by Laignee Barron for BNI