15-Year Drug Eradication Effort Failed: Minister

opium cultivation, illicit drug trade

A poppy flower grows at an opium plantation in Shan State. (Photo: Kyaw Kha / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — A Home Affairs minister has told Parliament that despite a 15-year nationwide drug eradication project opium production in Burma has continued to rise, adding that there will be a five-year project extension in order to eradicate the crop.

Brig-Gen. Kyaw Kyaw Tun, deputy minister of Home Affairs, said during a Lower House meeting on Monday that after the initial success of the government project, which began in 1999, the opium crop bounced back and expanded.

“Since the onset of the 15-year project in 1999, we saw a drop in the growth until 2006, but it has increased since 2007,” he said in a response to a question raised by Win Myint, a lawmaker from Pathein, state-owned newspaper The Mirror reported.

The remarks of the deputy minister are in line with the findings of the annual reports by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which have warned that the area under opium in Burma has been on the rise for six consecutive years.

Kyaw Kyaw Tun said the government has collaborated with the UNODC since 2002 to monitor opium growing inside the country, adding that last year an estimated 57,800 hectare was under poppy cultivation. In 2012 and 2011, more than 51,000 hectare and more than 43,600 hectare, were used for opium cultivation, respectively, he told the Lower House.

Kyaw Kyaw Tun said the government’s 15-year drug elimination project, which set a goal of eradicating all opium by 2014, finished in March this year. The government has now extended the project with another five years and will focus on eradicating poppy in 51 townships in major opium growing areas in Shan, Kachin, Kayah and Chin States.

2 Responses to 15-Year Drug Eradication Effort Failed: Minister

  1. Because all ethnics are very poor in their earning in cases of civil wars, casually created by bama military thugs for their DSA/OTS habits of blood suckling/free-lunch Dracula.

  2. The message was clear that the Burmese regime failed to wipe out the drug problem. However, the regime still manage to find a way how to get the international assistance under the drug-war pretext.

    To wipe out the drug in Burma is not easy because the Burmese government and its military commanders are not ready to be sincere in their work and focus on a bigger issue; such as political conflicts that rooted with different stakeholders and the broken promises to the non-Burman ethnic people.

    However, the international community is so scared to look at their failed mission on the drug wars in Burma. By judging to the facts of the relationship and cooperation between the UN and Burmese regimes since 1961, it is a total failure on drug wars.

    Burma signed the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. However, the signature was deliberately to blind the international community by using the fund to buy weapons, planes, helicopters and tanks to kill the innocent people who disagreed with them. Yes, this money has been reported as “Fighting against Drugs”. We should not forget that this Burmese regime is the same uniformed people who have been in power for more than 60 years and put the country under the iron fist control.

    Again, the international community practically started to get involved with Burmese regime in 1972. It was only after the Burmese regime invited the Chairman and Secretary of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in charge of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC) to visit the country to ensure how the UN might assist governmental efforts to control drug abuse (sic).

    Four years later, in May 1976, the UN and Burmese regime signed the Phase I of the UN/Burma Programme with the budget of US$ 6.5m. The money was to cover on the activities in the fields of agriculture, livestock breeding for the purpose of income substitution, preventive education in schools, public information, and treatment and rehabilitation of addicts and law enforcement.

    In February 1981, the Burmese regime and UNFDAC designed the Phase II (5 years project with the around US$ 5.4m.).

    In mid 1988, the activities halted due to the popular uprising led the Burmese students against the Burmese regime. In order to shy away from the international outcries, the UNFDAC stopped providing assistance to the Burmese regime on the drug.

    However, the regime reached ceasefire agreements with other several-armed ethnic groups (Kachin, Wa and Kokang and Shan State Progressive Party) by the following years. the faked drug war show was going on under the nose of the international community.

    Today, Burmese regime receives international assistance from UNODC 1,636,934 US$ (Japan, Italy & United States of America) and mainly from the US.

    Billions of dollars has bumped into the drug projects with the attempts to the wipe drugs. However, it is a failure because the international community is helping the wrong people to fight against the drug. In fact, the regime is using that money to fight the people who are against their dictating practices.

    Do the international community know about it? Absolutely, they know but it would never come out to admit that, they are helping the wrong people.

    It is not a difficult job to wipe out drug problem in Burma if the Burmese authorities are practically sincere to work and honestly want to see “Change” in Burma.

    They must start to share the power to the concerned non-Burman ethnicities who are demanding for their rights for self-determinations under the 1947 Panglong Agreement. Start to solve political conflicts by political dialogue with implementation. Ship out the corrupted military commanders and officers alike who are not toeing to the lines. International community must stop helping the Burmese regime until it is showing its sincerity, responsibility, transparency, accountability and competence in its work.

    Like it or not, the drug problem would only be solved after the Burmese regime, its military and its controversial constitution started to change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.