Search

 

Cablegate: Burma: Incsr I Drugs and Chemical Control

VZCZCXRO2095
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGO #1127/01 3250956
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210956Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6862
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1607
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4259
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0090
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1237
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1161
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 RANGOON 001127

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MLS, INL, SCT
DEPT OF JUSTICE FOR AFMLS, OIA, OPDAT
VIENNA FOR UNODC OFFICE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: INCSR I DRUGS AND CHEMICAL CONTROL

REF: STATE 136782

RANGOON 00001127 001.2 OF 007


This report responds to reftel request for the INCSR I Drugs and
Chemical Control Report update.
I. Summary
Burma took many wrong turns in 2007, including in the war on drugs.
Both UNODC and U.S. surveys of opium poppy cultivation indicated a
significant increase in cultivation and potential production in
2007, while production and export of synthetic drugs
(amphetamine-type stimulants, crystal methamphetamine and ketamine)
from Burma continued unabated. The significant downward trend in
poppy cultivation observed in Burma since 1998 halted in 2007, with
increased cultivation reported in Eastern, Northern and Southern
Shan State and Kachin State. Whether this represents a sustained
reversal in poppy cultivation in Burma, which remains far below
levels of 10 years earlier, remains to be seen. It does indicate,
however, that increases in the value of opium are driving poppy
cultivation into new regions. An increased number of households in
Burma were involved in opium cultivation in 2007. While Burma
remains the second largest opium poppy grower in the world after
Afghanistan, its share of world opium poppy cultivation fell from 55
percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2006, and rose slightly to 12
percent in 2007. This large proportional decrease is due to both
decreased opium poppy cultivation in Burma and increased cultivation
in Afghanistan. The Golden Triangle region in Southeast Asia no
longer reigns as the world's largest opium poppy cultivating region,
now producing 5 percent of the world's opium.
Despite increased cultivation in 2007, Burma's opium cultivation
declined dramatically between 1998 and 2006. The UN Office on Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) estimates a decrease from 130,300 hectares in 1998
to 21,500 hectares in 2006, an 83 percent decrease. Cultivation in
2007 increased 29 percent, from 21,500 hectares in 2006 to 27,700
hectares. The most significant decline over the past decade was
observed in the Wa region, following the United Wa State Army's
(UWSA) pledge to end opium poppy cultivation in its primary
territory, UWSA Region 2. UWSA controlled territory accounted for
over 30 percent of the acreage of national opium poppy cultivation
in 2005, but almost no poppy cultivation was reported in the Wa
region in 2006 and 2007. However, there are indications that
cultivation has increased in regions closely bordering UWSA Region
2.
Burma has not provided most opium farmers with access to alternative
development opportunities. Recent trends indicate that some opium
farmers were tempted to increase production to take advantage of
higher prices generated by opium's relative scarcity and continuing
strong demand. Increased yields in new and remaining poppy fields
(particularly in Southern Shan State), spurred by favorable weather
conditions in 2007 and improved cultivation practices, have
partially offset the affects of decreased cultivation. Higher yields
in some areas may also signal more sophisticated criminal activity,
greater cross border networking, and the transfer of new and
improved cultivation technologies.
Burma's overall decline in poppy cultivation since 1998 has been
accompanied by a sharp increase in the production and export of
synthetic drugs, turning the Golden Triangle into a new "Ice
Triangle." Burma is a significant player in the manufacture and
regional trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Drug
gangs based in the Burma-China and Burma-Thailand border areas, many
of whose members are ethnic Chinese, produce several hundred million
methamphetamine tablets annually for markets in Thailand, China, and
India, as well as for onward distribution beyond the region. There
are also indications that groups in Burma have increased the
production and trafficking of crystal methamphetamine or "Ice" - a
much higher purity and more potent form of methamphetamine than the
tablets.
Through its Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC), the
Government of Burma (GOB) cooperates regularly and shares
information with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and
Australian Federal Police (AFP) on narcotics investigations. In
recent years, the GOB has also increased its law enforcement
cooperation with Thai, Chinese and Indian counter-narcotics
authorities, especially through renditions, deportations, and
extraditions of suspected drug traffickers.
During the 2007 drug certification process, the U.S. determined that
Burma was one of only two countries in the world that had "failed
demonstrably" to meet its international counter-narcotics
obligations. Major concerns remain: unsatisfactory efforts by Burma

RANGOON 00001127 002.2 OF 007


to deal with the burgeoning ATS production and trafficking problem;
failure to take concerted action to bring members of the United Wa
State Army (UWSA) to justice following the unsealing of a U.S.
indictment against them in January 2005; failure to investigate and
prosecute military officials for drug-related corruption; and
failure to expand demand-reduction, prevention and drug-treatment
programs to reduce drug-use and control the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Burma is a party to 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Burma is the world's second largest producer of illicit opium.
Eradication efforts and enforcement of poppy-free zones combined to
reduce cultivation levels between1998 and 2006, especially in Wa
territory. However, in 2007, a significant resurgence of
cultivation occurred, particularly in eastern and southern Shan
State and Kachin State, where increased cultivation, favorable
weather conditions, and new cultivation practices increased opium
production levels, led to an estimated 29 percent increase in
overall opium poppy cultivation and a 46 percent increase in
potential production of dry opium.
According to the UNODC, opium prices in the Golden Triangle have
increased in recent years, although prices in Burma remain much
lower than the rest of the region due to easier supply. Burmese
village-level opium prices or farm-gate prices increased from $153
per kg in 2004 to $187 in 2005, to $230 in 2006 and to $265/kg in
2007. Burmese opium sales contribute about half of the annual
household cash income of farmers who cultivate opium, which they use
to pay for food between harvests. Forty-five percent of the average
yearly income ($501) of opium cultivating households in Shan State
was derived from opium sales in 2007.
In 2007, the UNODC opium yield survey estimated there were
approximately 27,700 hectares planted with opium poppies, with an
average yield of 16.6 kg per hectare (significantly higher than the
2006 average yield of 14.6 kg per hectare). [Independent U.S. opium
poppy cultivation surveys also indicated increased poppy cultivation
and estimated opium production to approximately 27, 700 hectares
cultivated and 270 metric tons produced]. The UNODC's opium yield
survey concluded that cultivation had increased 29 percent in Burma
from 2006 levels, with a 46 percent increase in potential production
to 460 metric tons. This represented a 67 percent increase in the
total potential value of opium production in Burma, from $72 million
in 2006 to $120 million in 2007. Nonetheless, both surveys
indicated that opium production is still down 90 percent from its
peak production in 1996.
The general decline in poppy cultivation in Burma since 1996 has
been accompanied by a sharp increase in the local production and
export of synthetic drugs. According to GOB figures for 2007, the
GOB seized approximately 1.5 million methamphetamine tablets,
compared to 19.5 million seized in 2006. Opium, heroin, and ATS are
produced predominantly in the border regions of Shan State and in
areas controlled by ethnic minority groups. Between 1989 and 1997,
the Burmese government negotiated a series of cease-fire agreements
with several armed ethnic minorities, offering them limited autonomy
and continued tolerance of their narcotics production and
trafficking activities in return for peace. In June 2005, the
United Wa State Army (UWSA) announced implementation in Wa territory
of a long-delayed ban on opium production and trafficking. While
the cultivation of opium poppies decreased in the Wa territory
during 2006 and 2007, according to UNODC and U.S. surveys, there are
indications from many sources that Wa leaders replaced opium
cultivation with the manufacture and trafficking of ATS pills and
"Ice" in their territory, working in close collaboration with ethnic
Chinese drug gangs.
Although the government has not succeeded in persuading the UWSA to
stop its illicit drug production and trafficking, the GOB's
Anti-Narcotic Task Forces continued to pressure Wa traffickers in
2007. UWSA also undertook limited enforcement actions against
rivals in Shan State in 2006 and 2007. In May 2006, UWSA units
found and dismantled two clandestine laboratories operating in
territory occupied and controlled by the UWSA-South in Eastern Shan
State. When the UWSA units entered the lab sites, a firefight
ensued, with eight people fatally wounded, four arrested, and 25 kg
of heroin and 500,000 methamphetamine tablets seized by the raiding
UWSA units. In June 2006, the UWSA passed custody of the contraband
substances to Government of Burma (GOB) officials. The prisoners
remained in the custody of the UWSA. These UWSA actions likely were
motivated more towards eliminating the competition in their area
than by a desire to stop drug trafficking. In Burma, opium

RANGOON 00001127 003.2 OF 007


addiction remains high in places of historic or current opium
production, ranging from 1.27 percent of the total adult population
in Eastern Shan State to 0.97 percent in Kachin State and an
estimated 0.83 percent in the Wa region, the main area of opium
production until 2006.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
--Policy Initiatives. Burma's official 15-year counter-narcotics
plan, launched in 1999, calls for the eradication of all narcotics
production and trafficking by the year 2014, one year ahead of an
ASEAN-wide plan of action that calls for the entire region to be
drug-free by 2015. To meet this goal, the GOB initiated its plan in
stages, using eradication efforts combined with planned alternative
development programs in individual townships, predominantly in Shan
State. The government initiated its second five-year phase in 2004.
Ground surveys by the Joint GOB-UNODC Illicit Crop Monitoring
Program indicate a steady decline in poppy cultivation and opium
production in areas receiving focused attention, due to the
availability of some alternative livelihood measures (including crop
substitution), the discovery and closure of clandestine refineries,
stronger interdiction of illicit traffic, and annual poppy
eradication programs. The UNODC estimates that the GOB eradicated
3,598 hectares of opium poppy during the 2007 opium poppy cropping
season (ranging between July-March is most regions), compared to
3,970 hectares in 2006.
The most significant multilateral effort in support of Burma's
counter-narcotics efforts is the UNODC presence in Shan State. The
UNODC's "Wa Project" was initially a five-year, $12.1 million
supply-reduction program designed to encourage alternative
development in territory controlled by the UWSA. In order to meet
basic human needs and ensure the sustainability of the UWSA opium
ban announced in 2005, the UNODC extended the project through 2007,
increased the total budget to $16.8 million, and broadened the scope
from 16 villages to the entire Wa Special Region No. 2. Major
donors that have supported the Wa Project include Japan and Germany,
with additional contributions from the UK and Australia. The United
States previously funded the UNODC Wa project, but halted funding
over issued by UWSA leadership against U.S. DEA agents following the
January 2005 indictment of seven UWSA leaders in a U.S. district
court for their role in producing and smuggling heroin to the United
States.
As part of its 15-year counter-narcotics plan, in 2002 the Burmese
Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) initiated the "New
Destiny" project, which calls for the complete eradication of poppy
cultivation nationwide and its replacement with substitute crops.
The GOB, under its 1993 Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
Law, issued notifications controlling 124 narcotic drugs, 113
psychotropic substances, and 25 precursor chemicals. Burma enacted
a "Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Law" in 2004.
--Law Enforcement Measures. The CCDAC, which leads all
drug-enforcement efforts in Burma, is comprised of personnel from
the national police, customs, military intelligence, and army. The
CCDAC, under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs,
coordinates 27 anti-narcotics task forces throughout Burma. Most
are located in major cities and along key transit routes near
Burma's borders with China, India, and Thailand. As is the case
with most Burmese government entities, the CCDAC suffers from a
severe lack of adequate funding, equipment, and training to support
its law-enforcement mission. The Burmese Army and Customs
Department support the Police in this role. In 2005, CCDAC
established two new anti-narcotic task forces in Rangoon and
Mandalay, supplementing existing task forces in both cities.
Burma is actively engaged in drug-abuse control with its neighbors
China, India, and Thailand. Since 1997, Burma and Thailand have had
11 cross-border law enforcement cooperation meetings. The most
significant result of this cooperation has been the repatriation by
Burmese police of drug suspects wanted by Thai authorities: two in
2004, one in 2005 and one in 2006. According to the GOB, Thailand
has contributed over $1.6 million to support an opium crop
substitution and infrastructure project in southeastern Shan State.
In 2007, Thailand assigned an officer from the Office of Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB) to its mission in Rangoon. Burma-China cross
border law enforcement cooperation has increased significantly,
resulting in several successful operations and the handover of
several Chinese fugitives who had fled to Burma. While not formally
funding alternative development programs, the Chinese government has
actively encouraged investment in many projects in the Wa area and
other border regions, particularly in commercial enterprises such as

RANGOON 00001127 004.2 OF 007


tea plantations, rubber plantations, and pig farms. China has
assisted in marketing those products in China through lower duties
and taxes. There are also indications that China conducted its own
opium cultivation and production surveys in 2007 in regions of Burma
bordering the PRC, although they have not shared data resulting from
those surveys with other parties.
After Burma and India signed an agreement on drug control
cooperation in 1993, the two countries have held cross border Law
Enforcement meetings on a biannual basis, the last being held
September 11, 2004, in Calcutta.
The GOB has to date taken no direct action against any of the seven
UWSA leaders indicted by U.S. federal court in January 2005,
although authorities have taken action against other, lower ranking
members of the UWSA syndicate. In 2007, one of the indicted
leaders, Pao Yu-hua, died of natural causes and another indicted
leader, Ho Chun-t'ing, was captured by Hong Kong Police. He is
currently imprisoned in Hong Kong while U.S. and Hong Kong officials
discuss his extradition to stand trial in the U.S. Another
notorious Burmese drug lord, Khun Sa, who was held under house
arrest in Rangoon following his surrender to the GOB in December
1996, died from natural causes in October 2007.
--Narcotics Seizures. Summary statistics provided by Burmese drug
officials indicate that through September 2007, Burmese police,
army, and the Customs Service together seized 1154 kgs of raw opium,
354 kgs of low quality opium, 73 kgs of heroin, 91 kgs of marijuana,
approximately 1.5 million methamphetamine tablets, 455 kgs of
methamphetamine powder, 395 kgs of methamphetamine ICE, 238 kgs of
ephedrine, 3,116 kgs of powdered precursor chemicals, and 8,723
liters of precursor chemicals.
On January 19, 2007, based on DEA and AFP information, the Lashio
CCDAC ANTF dismantled a heroin refinery in the Man Lin Hills near
Lashio, Shan State. This operation resulted in the arrest of two
defendants and the seizure of approximately 20.3 kgs of heroin, 20.3
kgs of brown opium, 1.02 kgs of opium residue, 1,100 kgs of ammonium
chloride, 770 kgs of sodium chloride, 1,470 liters of ether, 438
liters of hydrochloric acid, 183 liters of chloroform, and various
equipment used in the refining of heroin.
On February 14, 2007, based on DEA and AFP information, the Muse
CCDAC ANTF dismantled a heroin refinery near Khar Li Khu Village,
Mong Ko Township, Burma. This operation resulted in the arrest of 7
individuals, and the seizure of 7 kgs of brown opium, 89 kgs of
ephedrine, 22.75 liters of mineral spirit, 3 kgs of sodium
hydroxide, 2 liters of hydrochloric acid, 183 liters of chloroform,
and various equipment used in the refining of heroin.
On April 21, 2007, the Tachilek ANTF seized a total of approximately
264,000 methamphetamine tablets.
On April 23, 2007, based on DEA and AFP information, CCDAC ANTF
seized 224.3 kgs of opium, 300 grams of heroin, opium seeds, 7.1
million kyat (approximately $6,000), and 50,000 Chinese Yuan
(approximately $6,250) in Pan Se, Nam Kham Township, Burma.
During a May 26, 2007 raid on a heroin refinery in Kokang region,
the Muse ANTF captured a Kachin Defense Army (KDA) major. Returning
from the refinery, ANTF was ambushed by approximately 60 armed
individuals. In the ensuing firefight, the KDA major was rescued
and the opposing force escaped with the drugs and money seized at
the refinery. Four ANTF officers were killed and two were wounded.
The attackers were identified as KDA and were believed to be
primarily interested in recovering the KDA major.
On June 7, 2007, based on DEA information, the Taunggyi ANTF seized
195.2 kgs of opium from three locations and dismantled a heroin
refinery.
--Corruption. Burma signed but has not ratified the UN Corruption
Convention. Burma does not have a legislature or effective
constitution; and has no laws on record specifically related to
corruption. While there is little evidence that senior officials in
the Burmese Government are directly involved in the drug trade,
there are credible indications that mid-and-lower level military
leaders and government officials, particularly those posted in
border and drug producing areas, are closely involved in
facilitating the drug trade. The Burmese regime closely monitors
travel, communications and activities of its citizens to maintain
its pervasive control of the population, so it strains credibility
to believe that government officials are not aware of the
cultivation, production and trafficking of illegal narcotics in
areas it tightly controls. A few officials have been prosecuted
for drug abuse and/or narcotics-related corruption. However, Burma
has failed to indict any military official above the rank of colonel

RANGOON 00001127 005.2 OF 007


for drug-related corruption.
--Agreements and Treaties. Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs (and became a member of the 1972
Protocol to the Single Convention in 2003), the 1971 UN Convention
on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
--Cultivation and Production. According to the UNODC opium yield
estimate, in 2007 the total land area under poppy cultivation was
27,700 hectares, a 29 percent increase from the previous year. The
UNODC also estimated that the potential production of opium
increased by 46 percent, from 315 metric tons in 2006 to 460 metric
tons in 2007. The significant increase in potential opium
production in 2007 indicated in the UNODC estimates reflect improved
agricultural methods and an end to several years of drought,
resulting in more favorable growing weather in major opium poppy
growing areas, such as Shan State and Kachin State.
Burma as yet has failed to establish any reliable mechanism for the
measurement of ATS production. Moreover, while the UNODC undertakes
annual estimates of poppy cultivation and production, the U.S. has
been unable to conduct its annual joint crop survey with Burma since
2004 due to the GOB's refusal to cooperate in this important area.
--Drug Flow/Transit. Most ATS and heroin in Burma is produced in
small, mobile labs located near Burma's borders with China and
Thailand, primarily in territories controlled by active or former
insurgent groups. A growing amount of methamphetamine is reportedly
produced in labs co-located with heroin refineries in areas
controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the Shan State
Army-South (SSA-S), and groups inside the ethnic Chinese Kokang
autonomous region. Ethnic Chinese criminal gangs dominate the drug
syndicates operating in all three of these areas. Heroin and
methamphetamine produced by these groups is trafficked overland and
via the Mekong River, primarily through China, Thailand, India and
Laos and, to a lesser extent, via Bangladesh, and within Burma.
There are credible indications that drug traffickers are
increasingly using maritime routes from ports in southern Burma to
reach trans-shipment points and markets in southern Thailand,
Malaysia, Indonesia, and beyond. Heroin seizures in 2005, 2006 and
2007 and subsequent investigations also revealed the increased use
by international syndicates of the Rangoon International Airport and
Rangoon port for trafficking of drugs to the global narcotics
market.
--Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The overall level of drug
abuse is low in Burma compared with neighboring countries, in part
because most Burmese are too poor to be able to support a drug
habit. Traditionally, some farmers used opium as a painkiller and
an anti-depressant, in part because they lack access to other
medicine or adequate healthcare. There has been a growing shift in
Burma away from opium smoking toward injecting heroin, a habit that
creates more addicts and poses greater public health risks.
Deteriorating economic conditions will likely stifle substantial
growth in overall drug consumption, but the trend toward injecting
narcotics is of significant concern. The GOB maintains that there
are only about 65,000 registered addicts in Burma. According to
several HIV Estimation Workshops conducted in 2007 by the National
AIDS Program and the World Health Organization, there are an
estimated 60,000 to 90,000 injecting drug users in Burma. Surveys
conducted by UNODC and other organizations suggest that the addict
population could be as high as 300,000. According to the UNODC,
Burma's opium addiction rate is high, at 0.75 percent. NGOs and
community leaders report increasing use of heroin and synthetic
drugs, particularly among disaffected youth in urban areas and by
workers in mining communities in ethnic minority regions. The UNODC
estimated that in 2004 there were at least 15,000 regular ATS users
in Burma.
The growing HIV/AIDS epidemic has been tied to intravenous drug use.
According to the National AIDS Program, one third of officially
reported HIV/AIDS cases are attributable to intravenous drug use,
one of the highest rates in the world. Information gathered by the
National AIDS Program showed that HIV prevalence among injecting
drug users was 46.2 percent in 2006 - a figure that remained stable
in 2007. Infection rates are highest in Burma's ethnic regions,
and specifically among mining communities in those areas where
opium, heroin, and ATS are more readily available.
Burmese demand reduction programs are in part coercive and in part
voluntary. Addicts are required to register with the GOB and can be
prosecuted if they fail to register and accept treatment.
Altogether, more than 21,000 addicts were prosecuted between 1994
and 2002 for failing to register. (The GOB has not provided any data

RANGOON 00001127 006.2 OF 007


since 2002.) Demand reduction programs and facilities are limited,
however. There are six major drug treatment centers under the
Ministry of Health, 49 other smaller detoxification centers, and
eight rehabilitation centers, which, together, have provided
treatment to about 70,000 addicts over the past decade. Prior to
2006, the Ministry of Health treated heroin addicts with tincture of
opium. However, based on high levels of relapse, the Ministry of
Health in 2006 began to treat heroin addicts with Methadone
Maintenance Therapy (MMT) in four drug treatment centers, found in
Rangoon, Mandalay, Lashio, and Myitkyina. The Ministry of Health
also began dispensing methadone treatment in three additional sites,
two in Kachin State and one in Rangoon. By August 2007, the
Ministry of Health had treated more than 370 patients using MMT.
As a pilot model, in 2003 UNODC established community-based
treatment programs in Northern Shan State as an alternative to
official GOB treatment centers. UNODC expanded this program,
opening centers in Kachin State. In 2007, UNODC operated 16 drop-in
centers. Since 2004, more 2,000 addicts received treatment at UNODC
centers. In 2006 and 2007, an additional 8,028 addicts have sought
medical treatment and support from UNODC-sponsored drop-in centers
and outreach workers who are active throughout northeastern Shan
State. The GOB also conducts a variety of narcotics awareness
programs through the public school system. In addition, the
government has established several demand reduction programs in
cooperation with NGOs. These include programs coordinated with CARE
Myanmar, World Concern, and Population Services International (PSI),
focus on addressing injected drug use as a key factor in halting the
spread of HIV/AIDS.
However, while maintaining these programs at pre-existing levels,
Burma has failed to expand demand-reduction, prevention, and
drug-treatment programs to reduce drug use and control the spread of
HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund, which had a budget of $98.5 million to
fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in Burma, withdrew in 2005. In 2006,
foreign donors established the 3 Diseases Fund (3DF) to provide
humanitarian assistance for AIDS, TB, and malaria. The 3DF, with
its budget of $100 million over five years, supports the work of
local and international NGOs, the United Nations, and the Ministry
of Health. In 2007, the 3DF supported HIV/AIDS programs such as HIV
surveillance and training on blood safety. The 3DF also provided
funds for antiretroviral therapy and the MMT program.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
--Policy and Programs. As a result of the 1988 suspension of direct
USG counter-narcotics assistance to Burma, the USG has limited
engagement with the Burmese government in regard to narcotics
control. US DEA, through the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, shares
drug-related intelligence with the GOB and conducts joint
drug-enforcement investigations with Burmese counter-narcotics
authorities. In 2006 and 2007, these joint investigations led to
several seizures, arrests, and convictions of drug traffickers and
producers. The U.S. conducted opium yield surveys in the
mountainous regions of Shan State from 1993 until 2004, with
assistance provided by Burmese counterparts. These surveys gave
both governments a more accurate understanding of the scope,
magnitude, and changing geographic distribution of Burma's opium
crop. In 2005, 2006 and again in 2007, the GOB refused to allow
another joint opium yield survey. A USG remote sensing estimate
conducted indicated a slight increase in opium cultivation in 2007
and a significant increase in potential opium production, mirroring
UNODC survey results. Bilateral counter-narcotics projects are
limited to one small U.S.-supported crop substitution project in
Shan State. No U.S. counter-narcotics funding directly benefits or
passes through the GOB.
--The Road Ahead. The Burmese government must reverse the negative
direction of narcotics production in 2007 to restore the significant
gains it made over the past decade in reducing opium poppy
cultivation and opium production. This will require greater
cooperation with UNODC and major regional partners, particularly
China and Thailand. Large-scale and long-term international aid -
including increased development assistance and law-enforcement aid -
could play a major role in reducing drug production and trafficking
in Burma. However, the ruling military regime remains reluctant to
engage in political dialogue within Burma and with the international
community. Its barriers to those offering outside assistance have
limited the potential for international support of all kinds,
including support for Burma's counter-narcotics law enforcement
efforts. Furthermore, in order to be sustainable, a true opium
replacement strategy must combine an extensive range of

RANGOON 00001127 007.2 OF 007


counter-narcotics actions, including crop eradication and effective
law enforcement, with alternative development options, support for
former poppy farmers and openness to outside assistance. The GOB
must foster closer cooperation with the ethnic groups involved in
drug production and trafficking, especially the Wa, refuse to
condone continued involvement by ceasefire groups in the narcotics
trade, tackle corruption effectively, and enforce its
counter-narcotics laws more consistently to reach its goals of
eradicating all narcotics production and trafficking by 2014.
The USG believes that the GOB must further eliminate poppy
cultivation and opium production; prosecute drug-related corruption,
especially by corrupt government and military officials; take action
against high-level drug traffickers and their organizations;
strictly enforce its money-laundering legislation; and expand
prevention and drug-treatment programs to reduce drug use and
control the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. The GOB must take effective
new steps to address the explosion of ATS that has flooded the
region by gaining closer support and cooperation from ethnic groups,
especially the Wa, who facilitate the manufacture and distribution
of ATS. The GOB must close production labs and prevent the illicit
import of precursor chemicals needed to produce synthetic drugs.
Finally, the GOB must stem the troubling growth of domestic demand
for heroin and ATS.

VILLAROSA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results
Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

WHO: Vaccination No Guarantee Of Virus Eradication

In the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is 'not necessarily the big one', and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading ... More>>

Covid: Two Billion COVID Vaccine Doses Secured, WHO Says End Of Pandemic Is In Sight

The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>


UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>