Definition of Youth

The Child Law (1993) defines youth as those between 16-18 years, however no definition of youth is applied consistently.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 20
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 20
  • 14
  • --

  • No data for marriageable age with parental consent for men. Male homosexual acts illegal. Female homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
The Government has stated its will to raise the age to 10 through a reform of the child law. Source:  Child Law of Myanmar

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 96.33% Male (15-24) %
  • 96.31% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 45.95%Male %
  • 48.03% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 22.50% Male (13-15) %
  • 8.20% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Myanmar has no national youth policy yet, but there are ongoing efforts to develop one.

There are two apparently parallel processes underway to develop a national youth policy. One was initiated in 2012 by the Myanmar Youth Forum and is led by the newly formed National Youth Congress - both youth-led. The other was initiated by UNFPA, whose country representative is quoted saying that “[a 2014 visit of Princess Mary] confirms that we are on the right track in working closely with the Government of Myanmar to develop a youth policy.” How these processes relate and interact is not clear. According to an ActionAid blog, it seems - at least in part - controversial, with a youth activist stating that “the National Youth Congress was recently informed by a UN agency [...] that they themselves initiated a youth policy process” but that they “will not feedback on any youth policy that is not an outcome of a participatory and engaging process.”

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Department of Social Welfare within the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is responsible for youth issues, though the Situation Analysis of Children (2012) was co-published by UNICEF and the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.   The Department of Social Welfare implements both preventive and protective measures, including the establishment of youth centers and voluntary night schools for primary education as preventive measures and the establishment of youth development centers as protective measures.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
In the context of the struggle between the army-backed government and the opposition movement, there are several organisations claiming to represent all young people of Myanmar. Among them are the Myanmar Youth Forum, the National Youth Congress, and the National Youth Network.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation on youth spending could be found online. According to the World Bank, Myanmar spent 0.77% of its GDP on education in 2011, but does not calculate what this translates to in terms of percentage of government expenditure.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

Myanmar has handed in its Child Rights Report (2011) under the third and forth reporting cycle of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The List of Issues, and the Reply to the List of Issues, are informative. So are the Concluding Observations quoted here:  
The Committee, while welcoming the State party’s efforts [...], notes with regret that most of its recommendations have been insufficiently addressed or not addressed at all. [...] While noting the indication given by the State party that the 1993 Child Law is being reviewed [...], the Committee is concerned that all principles and provisions of the Convention have not yet been fully incorporated into domestic law and that legal provisions contrary to the Convention remain in force. The Committee also expresses its concern about the application of different sources of law, namely codified and customary laws, which may undermine the State party’s efforts to harmonize its legislation with the Convention. The Committee reiterates its deep concern about the extremely low level of resources allocated to the social sectors, in particular education, health and nutrition, at the severe lack of financial resources for the protection and promotion of child­ren’s rights, and conversely at the disproportio­nately high allocation of public financial resources to the military and state-owned enterprises.
  Myanmar has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in January 2012. Its first report was due on 15 February 2014, but had yet to be published as of March 2014.