Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fight against drug menace with synergy

By Mizzima News

The apparently rising drug production is bad news and a menace not only for Burma, but the whole world. All organizations must tackle this problem with synergy.

The declining prices of crop substitutes, the domino effects of global financial crisis, the falling demand of these substitute crops in Chinese market severely affected the former poppy farmers compelling them to return to their poppy fields because of these irresistible factors.

Burma, the second largest drug producer in the world after Afghanistan, achieved some victories in drug its eradication programme in the past. The sown acreage of poppy was 120,000 hectares at the peak which declined to only one fourth of that amount in 2008. The poppy production also declined to just over 400 metric tons. After achieving all these successes, we are seeing the sign of returning to the previous situation.

A UN survey found that the poppy cultivation rising in eastern and northern Shan State, Kachin and Kayah States. Moreover the current political tension might turn to rearmament of 'United Wa State Army' (UWSA) which will encourage poppy growing in these UWSA controlled areas besides the rising production in ATS drugs such as 'Yaa baaa'.

In fact the drug problem is closely linked with politics in Burma. The military regime, which assumed power by killing peaceful demonstrators brutally in the 1988 nationwide uprising, survived because of drug money of drug kingpins and heavyweights, allowing them free investment and free money laundering. This drug money helped much in building and arming its growing army.

The pressure on Burma for drug eradication is being mounted only after this menace overshadowed not only the US and Europe, but also neighbouring countries, especially China.

The recent big haul of 118 kilograms of heroin from a ship owned by Chinese-Burmese hybrid businessman U Kyaw Sein after the vessel left Asia World port was the result of a tip off by Chinese drug enforcement agencies directly to Burmese Prime Minister's Office.

The port and drug authority recalled the ship to the jetty when it was anchoring at a buoy waiting for the rising tide. They found a lot of white, golden and brown poppy and narcotic drugs packed with newsprint, carbon paper and lead foil in the outermost layer, hidden in container carrying logs and wood conversions.

Two similar tip-offs in the past to Burmese drug enforcement agencies didn't work due to alleged non-cooperation by the Burmese side an evidence of the possible nexus between the authorities and drug gangs, and corruption in junta's administrative machinery.

Now we are witnessing the drug menace reemerging which will take the lives of many people again in Burma. Only the synergy efforts by regional countries can deter money laundering and ensuring the rule of law, an independent justice in the region.

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