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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: March 3, 2000

=========== THE BURMANET NEWS ===========
== An on-line newspaper covering Burma ==
=========== www.burmanet.org ============

To view the version of this issue with photographs, 
go to-



'To keep the lid on the spread of malaria and the 
deadly HIV virus, the [Thai] government needs to 
encourage Rangoon to take an urgent and viable 
approach to it, not the least of which would be a 
political solution to the armed conflicts in the country 
to allow the displaced to return home. Otherwise, no 
amount of humanitarian aid can effectively stop 
this human suffering.' 

Editorial in The Nation newspaper (See NATION: REFUGEE HEALTH CRISIS

Friday, March 3, 2000
Issue # 1477

Inside Burma--









March 3, 2000
   It has not been announced publicly, but Asiaweek 
has learned that all of Myanmar's ambassadors have 
been ordered to return home for an unprecedented meeting. 
It will take place in March, shortly before an international 
conference in Seoul to discuss ways of bringing the Yangon 
junta in out of the cold (see THE NATIONS, Jan. 14). The 
Korean session replicates a 1998 World Bank-U.N. 
sponsored meeting in Chilston Park, England, that 
reportedly tried to win over the military leaders with 
a $ 1 billion aid package in exchange for political 
liberalization -- an initiative that remains stalled. 



YANGON, March 3 (AFP) - Myanmar accused the 
United States of hypocrisy Friday in an angry 
response to a report which found the junta had done 
little to shed its tag as one of the world's top 
opium producers. In a statement sent to AFP, a 
government spokesman said Washington was "scapegoating"
drugs producers and should instead tackle its own 
drugs problem.

"Efforts to eliminate narcotic drugs cannot and must not 
be pushed on the shoulders of other nations while the nation 
with the biggest drug market ... is self exempted from 
any kind of blame," said the statement.

The spokesman said Washington should fund anti-drugs 
efforts in Myanmar and other states instead of 
simply offering criticism.

In the 1999 International Narcotics Control 
Strategy Report the US on Wednesday renewed 
its designation of Myanmar and Afghanistan as 
uncooperative in the fight against drugs.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said
a drop in opium yields in the military-ruled 
state was the result of bad weather rather 
than a serious anti-drugs drive.

The Myanmar spokesman said the assessment 
had been critical of Myanmar for "political 
reasons," adding that agents of the US Drug 
Enforcement Administration (DEA) had carried 
out six joint opium yield surveys with the 

Officials here often portray criticism of the 
drugs trade as a political plot to undermine 
the government which refuses to hand over power to 
the elected opposition of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has introduced a program which it says 
will wipe out drugs production within 15 years 
and officials say they are determined to shed the 
pariah status f drugs producer.

Critics charge however that even if it is 
serious about reducing heroin production, 
Myanmar encourages the trade in amphetamines 
which are easy to produce and export.

The spokesman claimed that unlike the State 
Department, DEA agents "do understand and 
do appreciate Myanmar's efforts in the fight 
against drugs."

The US was among countries which last year 
boycotted an Interpol drugs conference in 
Yangon at which senior officials called 
for cooperation and foreign funding for 
anti-narcotics efforts. Interpol's director 
of criminal intelligence Paul Higdon described 
such cooperation as "a pact with the devil" 
at a conference in aYngon last year, but 
nevertheless endorsed Myanmar's anti-drugs 

Critics of Myanmar's vaunted efforts to fight 
drugs, accuse the government of turning a blind 
eye to trafficking in exchange for ceasefire deals 
with ethnic groups.

They say generals have siphoned off drug money to 
support their military state apparatus and harbour 
drug lords like notorious Shan State kingpin Khun Sa.



Information  Sheet    No.B-1284 (I)               3rd March, 2000

    It is not surprising that for political reason the
U.S. State Department has put Myanmar under the
uncooperative country list again. While the State
Department is issuing such hypocritical statements the
Government of Myanmar has recently exercised a joint
annual opium-yield survey together with U.S. officials
for the sixth time already. It is also not surprising
that D.E.A. and other U.S. drug experts are not in
favor of  their State Department's allegations on
Myanmar since they do understand and do appreciate
Myanmar's efforts in the fight against the narcotic

    In reality, the efforts to eliminate narcotic drugs
cannot and must not be pushed on the shoulders of
other nations while the nation itself, with the

drug- market including the organized criminal
syndicates and major commercial banks which are
running the money laundering making fortunes is
self-exempted from any kind of blame. Myanmar believes
that the U.S. Government should also shoulder its
shared responsibility in this fight against the
narcotic drugs. Giving out some funds to certain
countries while scapegoating others will not solve
much of the drug problem we are facing today.
    The key point for the success of eliminating the
narcotic drugs is an essential cooperation rather than
scapegoating of the U.S. which is the world's biggest
market for almost all kinds of narcotic drugs in
putting its political agenda aside and working
together with the world community seriously and
sincerely in the global fight against the narcotic

    Just holding the purse does not give any nation the
right to finger point and scapegoat other nations and
to manage an automatic exemption from sharing
responsibilities with the others.



YANGON, March 3 (Reuters) - Myanmar's ruling
generals plan to turn a former base of a notorious 
heroin kingpin into a tourist resort, official 
media reported on Friday.

``Arrangements are being made to develop tourism 
in Homong, which has the potential to become a 
tourist destination,'' the official Myanma 
News Agency quoted powerful military intelligence 
chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt as saying on

He said arrangements were being made to 
establish administrative bodies so Homong 
could function as a town and to improve the 
surrounding economy by encouraging rice 
cultivation and hydropower generation.

Homong, in northeastern Myanmar close to the 
Thai border, was formerly the base of Khun Sa, 
a warlord wanted in the United States for heroin 

Khun Sa surrendered to the generals in 1996 but
Yangon has since rejected U.S. extradition calls, 
saying no treaty exists with Washington.

On Thursday, a Myanmar government spokesman denied 
a news report that said Khun Sa, who has been allowed 
to live free in Yangon for the past four years, planned 
to move back to Homong. 

`Khun Sa is not moving to Homong. He is living here 
and I am sure he does not want to live there,'' 
the spokesman said. Earlier this year, the 
Myanmar government said tens of thousands of 
ethnic Wa opium growers were being moved from homes
in hills on the China border to the area around 
Homong. It said the aim was to wipe out opium 
production, but Thai narcotics officials said 
last month they suspected the plan was to 
shift drug production closer to Thailand.


Source: Tanjug news agency, Belgrade, in English 1437
 gmt 1 Mar 00 

Text of report in English by Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug 

Yangon, 1st March: The Yugoslav delegation headed by 
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic arrived 
Wednesday [1st March] in Yangon, capital city of Myanmar 
(former Burma). 

Minister Jovanovic and members of the Yugoslav 
delegation were welcomed and greeted at the airport 
in Yangon by Foreign Minister U Win Aung and his aides.  

Immediately upon arrival official talks started in the 
Foreign Ministry of Myanmar. 

Welcoming Minister Jovanovic, Minister Aung expressed 
deep respect for the courage of the Yugoslavs in their 
resistance, as he said, to the unjustified and brutal 
NATO attack. 

Today the Yugoslav delegation will be received by the 
secretary of the State Peace and Development Council, 
supreme body ruling that Asian state, Lt-Gen 
Khin Nyunt. 



2 March 2000

Fifty Karen National Union rebel soldiers, who 
were last seen being led away by Thai troops, 
are believed to have been executed over the 
last two days along the Thai-Myanmar border.

They are believed to have been taking their 
families across the border to Thailand when 
the kingdom's officials prevented them from 
entering while admitting their family members.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which 
reported the missing men, have asked the 
Thai government for an explanation, but 
the situation has increased the already 
delicate border situation between the two sides.

For more, we cross to our Indochina correspondent 
Romen Bose who spoke to border officials and 
NGOs when he visited the border earlier Thursday.

Q1. Romen, what is the situation at the border at
this point?

Romen: Tense

Q2. What is the status of the various Myanmar 
dissident groups along the border?

Romen: Student groups have been closing down 
offices as Thai officials clamp down, foil 
the siege, groups now a thorn in the side for 
both Thai and Myanmar governments, rebuilding 
of trust needed.

Q3: Romen, there have also been refugee camps 
on the Thai side. Will they be closed down?

Romen: Camps cater to Karen ethnic minorities
 - groups that will continue to remain here 
because, (they are) clearly under the protection 
UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Able to 
stay. But I understand it is quite clear
that some 140,000 Shan minority located just 
next to the Karen are being moved further 
down to Shan state - viewed by Thais as a 
shift of the drug trade closer to Thailand.


NHK World Network, Tokyo, in English 0600 gmt 2 Mar 

Text of report by Radio Japan on 2nd March 
Japan and Myanmar [Burma] have agreed to set
up an inter-governmental body to discuss how
to help Myanmar change its economic structure. 
Officials from the two countries agreed on the 
plan at a meeting in Yangon [Rangoon] on 
Wednesday [1st March].  Japanese Foreign 
Ministry officials say they proposed setting 
up the joint experts' group in order to encourage 
Myanmar to make economic changes. Myanmar agreed 
to setting this body up. 

The Japanese government had long been hesitant about 
giving economic aid to the military government of Myanmar 
without first seeing more democratization, but after 
Myanmar was admitted to the Association of Southeast 
Asian Nations [ASEAN] three years ago, Japan decided 
to help the country as part of a general closing
[as heard] of ties with ASEAN countries. 




March 3, 2000

Yuwadee Tunyasiri

Prime Minister's Office Minister Jurin Laksanavisit 
and the Burmese ambassador to Thailand yesterday 
discussed measures to improve Thai and Burmese 
efforts to suppress illegal drugs.

Mr Jurin, who oversees the Office of the Narcotics 
Control Board, held talks with Burmese envoy U Hla 

Mr Jurin said Bangkok wants Rangoon to destroy drug 
production bases in Burma, especially major ones run 
by the Red Wa.

The request was also made that Thailand and Burma 
extend their co-operation in drug suppression to 
cover other issues, including the search for drug 
suspects fleeing from one country to another.
It was also suggested Rangoon should initiate 
measures to ensure Wa people, relocated to border 
areas opposite Mae Hong Son, do not grow plants used 
to produce drugs.

The Democrat MP said the Burmese ambassador had 
voiced satisfaction over Thailand's efforts to combat 
the smuggling of chemicals used in the production of 
amphetamines in Burma.

Under the measures, eight northern provinces and five 
southern border provinces have been declared special 
zones where the sale and use of 19 chemicals will be 
strictly controlled. In January, Burma's military 
regime launched an unprecedented relocation of 50,000 
people out of prime opium growing areas near China 
controlled by the United Wa State Army to more 
fertile areas further south near Thailand to farm 
fruit instead.

"U Hla Maung explained that the Myanmar government 
has a concrete plan for people in the resettlement 
plan. They were moved out of the mountainous area to 
the plain because Myanmar government wants them to 
stop growing [opium] poppy and start a new 
profession," Mr Jurin was quoted as saying by the 
Thai News Agency.

In recent years, methamphetamine has surpassed heroin 
as Thailand's worst drug menace. Thai authorities 
seized more than 40 million tablets of the illegal 
stimulant last year, claiming that most of it was 
smuggled in from Burma.

However, Burma has protested to Thailand saying that 
chemicals used to make illicit drugs are imported 
into that country from Thailand.

In response, Thailand on Wednesday banned caffeine-an 
ingredient used to make methamphetamine-from being 
transported to six northern provinces that border 
northeastern Burma. 

Bangkok Post (March 3, 2000)



March 2, 2000

For full text of this report on State's website, go to:

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1999
Released by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC, March 2000

[BurmaNet adds--INSCR (acronym pronounced "insker")
is released by the State Department but is the result
of an inter-agency collaboration between a number of 
departments, including State, CIA, and the Drug 
Enforcement Administration.]


I. Summary 

Burma is the world's second largest source 
of illicit opium and heroin, with Burmese 
production exceeded only by that of 
Afghanistan. Due in large part to severe 
drought conditions in poppy growing areas, 
production and cultivation continued to 
decline significantly in 1999 for the 
third year in a row. In 1999 there were an 
estimated 89,500 hectares under opium 
poppy cultivation, down 31 percent from 
1998. This cultivated area could yield up 
to a maximum of 1,090 metric tons of opium 
gum. The opium production figure is 38 
percent lower than in 1998 and is less 
than half of the average amount of 
production during the last decade. The 
government maintained most of its opium 
crop-eradication efforts, expanding some 
of these only slightly. During 1999, 
seizures of methamphetamine continued to 
exceed last year's record seizures, 
although opium and heroin seizures were 
well below 1998 figures. Burma made its 
first airport seizures of narcotics in 
1999. The Government of Burma (GOB) made 
little, if any, effort against money 
laundering during the year. While there 
were cases of interdiction and arrests of 
members of some cease-fire groups for 
narcotics trafficking, the GOB has been 
unwilling or unable to take on the most 
powerful groups directly. Cease-fire 
agreements with insurgent ethnic groups 
dependent on the narcotics trade involve 
an implicit tolerance of continued 
involvement in narcotics for varying 
periods of time. Burma is a party to the 
1961 UN Single Convention, the 1971 UN 
Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and 
the 1988 UN Drug Convention. 

II. Status of Country 

Burma has been, and continues to be, one 
of the world's largest producers of 
illicit opium. Burmese opium production 
doubled in 1989, the year after the State 
Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC-
the military junta that now rules Burma 
under the Name State Peace and Development 
Council, or SPDC) took power. Production 
levels remained high and stable for 
several years, but production began to 
decline in 1997 and dropped significantly 
in 1998 and 1999. The decline in potential 
production in 1999 over 1998 is largely 
due to drought, although the drop also 
reflects the GOB's effort to keep areas 
out of opium cultivation as part of its 
eradication efforts. The U.S. Government 
(USG) discontinued most U.S. direct 
assistance to Burma in 1988 in response to 
massive human rights abuses. 

Burma currently accounts for approximately 
80 percent of the total production of 
Southeast Asian opium. Most of this supply 
of illicit opiates is produced in ethnic 
minority areas of Burma's Shan State. Over 
the past few years, the GOB has increased 
its presence in this region, particularly 
the southern portion of it, an area 
formerly under the control of Chang Qifu 
(Khun Sa). Since 1989, Rangoon has 
negotiated cease-fire agreements with most 
of the drug-trafficking groups that 
control these areas, offering them limited 
autonomy and development assistance in 
exchange for ending their insurgencies. 
The regime's highest priority is to end 
insurrection and achieve some measure of 
national integration; counternarcotics 
interests in these areas are a lesser 
priority, reflected in the fact that many 
of the cease-fire agreements effectively 
permit the minorities to continue their 
narcotics cultivation and trafficking 
activities. Moreover, the cease-fire 
agreements have had the practical effect 
of condoning money laundering, as the 
government encouraged these groups to 
invest in "legitimate" businesses as an 
alternative to trafficking and some chose 
this opportunity to sanitize past illicit 
proceeds with investments in hotels and 
construction companies, for example. 

The ethnic drug-trafficking armies with 
whom the government has negotiated cease-
fires (but not permanent peace accords), 
such as the United Wa State Army (UWSA) 
and the Myanmar National Democratic 
Alliance Army (MNDAA-Kokang Chinese), 
remain armed and heavily involved in the 
heroin trade. Through cease-fire 
agreements, the GOB appears to have given 
the trafficking armies varying degrees of 
autonomy; for example, Burmese troops 
cannot even enter Wa territory without 
explicit permission. Among the top leaders 
of those ethnic groups believed by the USG 
to be involved in the heroin and/or 
amphetamine trade are, Peng Jiasheng, and 
Liu Goushi of the MNDAA; Pao Yuqiang, Li 
Zuru, and Wei Xuekang of the UWSA; Mahtu 
Naw of the Kachin Defense Army (KDA); Mong 
Sa La and Yang Maoliang of the Mongko 
Defense Army (MDA); and Yawd Serk of the 
Shan United Revolutionary Army (SURA), 
which was formerly part of drug lord Chang 
Qifu's Mong Tai Army. Chang Qifu disbanded 
his army in January 1996 in return for 
generous terms of surrender, which allowed 
him to avoid criminal prosecution.

U Sai Lin (Lin Mingxian) of the Eastern Shan 
State Army (ESSA) has been listed in 
previous years as a major narcotics 
insurgent leader, but he has successfully 
rid his area of opium cultivation. There 
are no current, confirmed reports of Sai 
Lin or the ESSA still being involved in 
narcotics trafficking, although it is 
likely that ESSA territory is a 
trafficking route because of its location 
along the border with China. 

There is reason to believe that money 
laundering in Burma and the return of 
narcotics profits laundered elsewhere are 
significant factors in the overall Burmese 
economy, although the extent is impossible 
to measure accurately. Political and 
economic constraints on legal capital 
inflows magnify the importance of 
narcotics-derived funds in the economy. An 
underdeveloped banking system and lack of 
enforcement against money laundering have 
created a business and investment 
environment conducive to the use of drug-
related proceeds in legitimate commerce. 
Drug abuse-in particular intravenous drug 
use-is on the rise in Burma and is 
accompanied by an alarming spread of the 
HIV/AIDS virus, especially in the ethnic 
minority areas that are the source of the 
drugs. HIV/AIDS infection rates in gem and 
jade mining areas are particularly high. 
In the past four years, as overt military 
challenges to Rangoon's authority from the 
ethnic groups have eased somewhat, the 
government, while maintaining its primary 
focus on state security, has stepped up 
its counternarcotics enforcement efforts. 
The GOB garrisoned troops on a year-round 
basis for the first time in the Kokang 
region during 1997, but it still does not 
have troops in Wa territory. The MNDAA, 
the KDA, and the MDA in Shan State have 
declared their intention to establish 
opium-free zones in territory under their 
control by the year 2000; the ESSA has 
already declared its territory an opium-
free zone. The Wa have announced their 
territory will be an opium-free zone by 
the year 2005. 

Ethnic groups have made "opium-free" 
pledges since 1989, but, with the 
exception of the Kachin State and ESSA 
territory, results have been limited. In 
view of the extensive opium cultivation in 
northern Shan State, the area of greatest 
opium density, expanded reduction in 
cultivation will require considerable 
eradication, much greater law-enforcement, 
and alternative-development efforts by the 
authorities. Such efforts necessitate 
vastly greater financial resources than 
the government has, however. 
Implementation of such a program would 
also require increased cooperation between 
the government and the ethnic groups 
involved in production and trafficking. 

The GOB, for its part, stated that it 
would support its eradication efforts with 
development assistance in the form of 
infrastructure improvements and advice on 
crop substitution. The GOB also requested 
USG assistance in verifying whether these 
groups fulfill their commitments. The USG 
has requested additional information to 
pinpoint the areas in question. The GOB 
has promised to provide this information. 
Exchange of information on the status of 
opium cultivation could then occur during 
the opium poppy survey carried out jointly 
with the GOB on a year-by-year basis. In 
view of China's long border with the Wa 
area, the GOB asked China for assistance 
in curbing Wa trafficking. Both countries 
have established a regular forum for 
discussing counternarcotics cooperation. 

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1999 

Policy Initiatives.

 Burmese counternarcotics efforts in 1999 
made progress with regard to increased 
methamphetamine and ephedrine seizures and 
Burma's first seizures of drugs transiting 
the airport in Rangoon. An improved 
security situation in parts of northern 
Shan State permitted the Burmese anti-drug 
forces to conduct more vigorous law-
enforcement efforts, especially in the 
Kachin and Kokang regions. The GOB has 
continued its cooperation with Japan to 
plant opium substitute crops on 14,565 
acres. Such efforts must be stepped up, if 
they are to have a significant impact on 
the overall trafficking problem. 

With encouragement from the Drug 
Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. 
Embassies in Rangoon and Bangkok, the 
Burmese and Thai governments agreed to 
undertake joint operations against drug 
trafficking along Thailand's northern 
border with Burma. Operation of a joint 
anti-drug task force in Tachilek, Burma 
and Mae Sai, Thailand, however, has been 
hampered by political disharmony between 
the two countries. 

The Burmese continued to refuse to render 
drug lord Chang Qifu on grounds that he 
had not violated his 1996 surrender 
agreement. This agreement reportedly 
stipulated that if Chang Qifu ended his 
insurgency and retired from the drug 
trade, the GOB would provide him with 
security in Rangoon and allow him to 
conduct legitimate business. Burmese 
authorities assert that he will continue 
to enjoy immunity from prosecution in 
Burma or rendition to another country as 
long as he does not violate his surrender 
agreement. This issue remains a source of 
friction between Burma and the U.S. The 
1988 UN Drug convention obligates parties, 
including Burma, to prosecute such 
traffickers. GOB officials have stated 
they would be willing to prosecute Chang 
Qifu or his subordinates, if it can be 
proven that they have engaged in narcotics 
trafficking after the surrender agreement 
was signed. 

The SPDC affirmed its intention to 
increase its efforts to implement the 
ongoing "Master Plan for the Development 
of Border Areas and National Races." The 
plan calls for a program of integrated 
development combined with law enforcement 
aimed at improving living standards in the 
ethnic areas and providing viable economic 
alternatives to opium cultivation. Few GOB 
resources have been devoted to such 
development projects, however; health, 
education, and infrastructure in border 
areas remain poor. GOB policy is to force 
the leaders in the ethnic areas to spend 
their own revenues, including from the 
drug trade, on social and physical 
infrastructure. The GOB's ability to 
continue or expand its opium eradication 
efforts is likely to be adversely affected 
by the lack of such economic alternatives. 
The UNDCP has begun an integrated rural 
development project in the southern 
portion of the Wa region in furtherance of 
the United Wa State Army's unilateral 
decision announced in 1995 to establish 
five "opium-poppy-free zones" in its area 
of control to reduce opium cultivation 
gradually. The project is part of a 
planned five-year, $15 million rural 
development project aimed at crop 
substitution and alternative development. 
The project area has expanded to include 2 
more townships for a total of five, with 
over 200 villages participating. UNDCP has 
begun projects in agriculture, road 
building, water and sanitation, and 
community development. The Wa project will 
incorporate a monitoring and evaluation 
component designed to measure progress in 
eliminating opium cultivation. As an 
integrated development scheme, it will 
also focus on developing the 
infrastructure as well as providing 
educational and health facilities in the 
Ho Tao and Mong Pawk districts of the Wa 


While the extent of the drug threat from 
Burma remained high, law-enforcement 
efforts, particularly seizures of 
amphetamine, showed some improvement. 
Opium production during 1999 showed a 
significant decline; much of the decline, 
however, was the result of a region-wide 
drought. Seizures of 28.8 million 
amphetamine tablets in 1999 represented a 
notable increase over the previous year's 
record seizures of 15 million tablets. 
Opium and heroin seizures as of October 
1999 declined from the 1998 seizure rate. 
The decline largely resulted from changes 
in trafficking patterns and refining 
methods adopted by traffickers in response 
to GOB enforcement efforts in prior years. 
The combined police and military narcotics 
task forces seized 273.2 kilograms of 
heroin in 1999 compared to 490 kilograms 
seized in 1998. By October, officials 
seized 1.44 metric tons of opium, compared 
with 5.2 metric tons for all of 1998. As 
indicated above, opium cultivation dropped 
by 31 percent and potential opium 
production by 38 percent to the lowest 
level in ten years. GOB law enforcement 
also made its first arrests of traffickers 
at Mingaladon Airport in Rangoon in 
October and November, seizing a total of 
10.7 kilograms of heroin. To date, the GOB 
has also seized 6.43 metric tons of 
ephedrine in 1999, most of it coming from 
India. The GOB destroyed 23 heroin 
refineries and six methamphetamine 
refineries during 1999. The GOB also 
eradicated 9,800 additional acres of poppy 
fields, according to Burmese figures. The 
USG is unable to verify the accuracy of 
the eradication figures. 

Law Enforcement Measures. 

The 1993 Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic 
Substances Law brought the Burmese legal 
code into conformity with the 1988 UN Drug 
Convention. As such, the 1993 law contains 
useful legal tools for addressing money 
laundering, the seizure of drug-related 
assets, and the prosecution of drug 
conspiracy cases. However, Burmese policy 
and judicial officials have been slow to 
implement the law, targeting few, if any, 
major traffickers and their drug-related 
assets. Burmese drug officials claim they 
lack sufficient expertise to deal with 
money laundering and financial crimes, but 
money laundering is believed to be carried 
out on a massive scale. 

Formally, the Burmese government's drug-
enforcement efforts were led by the 
Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control 
(CCDAC), which is comprised of personnel 
from various security services, including 
the police, customs, military 
intelligence, and the army. CCDAC now has 
18 drug-enforcement task forces around the 
country, most located in major cities and 
along key transit routes near Burma's 
borders with China, India, and Thailand. 
The CCDAC, which is under the effective 
control of the Directorate of Defense 
Services Intelligence (DDSI) and relies, 
in part, on military personnel to execute 
law- enforcement duties, continues to 
suffer from a lack of adequate resources 
to support its law-enforcement mission. 
Corruption. There is no evidence that the 
government, on an institutional level, is 
involved in the drug trade. However, there 
are persistent and reliable reports that 
officials, particularly corrupt army 
personnel posted in outlying areas, are 
either involved in the drug business or 
are paid to allow the drug business to be 
conducted by others. Army personnel wield 
considerable political clout locally, and 
their involvement in trafficking is a 
significant problem. The Burmese have said 
that they would welcome information from 
others on corruption within their ranks, 
and a few military personnel are known to 
have been arrested for narcotics-related 
offenses in 1999. 

The lack of an enforcement effort against 
money laundering encourages the use of 
drug proceeds in legitimate business 
ventures by traffickers or former 
traffickers. Businesses owned by family 
members of former or present traffickers 
have invested heavily in infrastructure 
projects, such as roads and port 
facilities, as well as in hotels and other 
real-estate development projects during 
the year. Some of these investments are 
intended to supplement government 
expenditures on rural development projects 
in areas under control of the ethnic 
insurgent and trafficking groups. There is 
solid evidence indicating that drug 
profits formed the seed capital for many 
otherwise legitimate enterprises in the 
commercial services, and manufacturing 

Agreements and Treaties. 

Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single 
Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on 
Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN 
Drug Convention. The Rangoon regime, 
however, has always refused to extradite 
Burmese citizens to other countries. The 
United States does not have a mutual legal 
assistance treaty (MLAT) with Burma. The 
USG believes that a U.S.-U.K. Extradition 
Treaty, which was accepted by the post-
independence Burmese government in 1948, 
remains in force and is applicable to U.S. 
requests for extradition of drug fugitives 
from Burma. The GOB continues to refuse to 
recognize the applicability of this 

The GOB is one of six nations (Burma, 
Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam) 
that, along with the UNDCP, signed a 
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering 
a sub-regional action plan aimed at 
controlling precursor chemicals and 
reducing illicit drug use in the highlands 
of Southeast Asia. In addition to periodic 
meetings with counterparts from the other 
signatories to the MOU, Burma has held 
counternarcotics discussions with Russia 
and India in 1999. The GOB signed 
bilateral drug control agreements with 
India in 1993, with Bangladesh in 1994, 
with Vietnam in 1995, and with the Russian 
Federation, Laos, and The Philippines in 

Cultivation and Production. 

Burma is the world's second largest 
producer of opium. Potential production 
decreased sharply from 1998 levels, 
however, marking the third straight year 
of decline after a decade of steady 
production at a high level. Opium 
cultivation declined an estimated 31 
percent and production declined an 
estimated 38 percent to 1,090 metric tons. 
Since the early 1990s the areas of most 
intense cultivation have gradually shifted 
from southern to northern Shan State. The 
bulk of the opium crop has been in areas 
controlled by ethnic minority groups. The 
GOB has signed or tried to sign cease-fire 
agreements with many of these groups since 
1989. In the last few years, however, the 
GOB has begun to increase its presence in 
areas previously under ethnic control, 
with the notable exception of the Wa 
region. The government continued its 
eradication efforts during 1999 in areas 
previously subject to eradication, but did 
not expand the program significantly. A 
drought that affected both northern and 
southern areas of Shan State, was largely 
responsible for the sharp decline in 
potential opium production in 1999. 

The GOB conducted a baseline survey of 
opium cultivation for the second year 
aimed at determining actual opium 
production (as opposed to potential 
production that the USG measures) 
throughout the country. According to 
Burmese figures, there were 102,066 acres 
cultivated in 1999, producing a total of 
449 tons. The methodology used to arrive 
at these figures is unknown, and the U.S. 
must rely on the higher figures resulting 
from the joint U.S.-Burma opium yield 

Drug Flow/Transit. 

Most heroin in Burma is 
produced in small, mobile labs located 
near the borders with Thailand and China 
in Shan State in areas controlled by 
ethnic narcotics insurgencies. A growing 
amount of methamphetamine is reportedly 
produced in labs co-located with heroin 
refineries in the Wa region and the former 
Shan United Army territory in southern 
Shan State. Seizures of amphetamine tabs 
as of November had outpaced the record 15 
million seized in 1998, reflecting the 
growing popularity of methamphetamine 
production among traffickers. Heroin and 
methamphetamine produced by Burma's ethnic 
groups are trafficked largely through 
transit routes crossing the porous Chinese 
and Thai borders; to a lesser extent over 
the Indian, Bangladeshi, and Lao borders; 
and through Rangoon onward by ship to 
other countries in the region. Although 
Thailand remains an important route for 
Burmese heroin to exit Southeast Asia, 
trafficking through China is on the 

Acetic anhydride, an essential chemical in 
the production of heroin, and ephedrine, 
the principal chemical ingredient of 
methamphetamine, are imported primarily 
from China and India. Traffickers 
continued moving heroin through central 
Burma, often from Lashio through Mandalay 
to Rangoon or other seaports, such as 
Moulmein, for shipment to Singapore or 
Malaysia. Trafficking routes leading 
through Kachin and Chin States and Sagaing 
Division in northern Burma to India 
continued to operate as secondary routes.
Demand Reduction. Drug abuse is a growing 
problem in Burma. Official estimates put 
the drug-addicted population at 
approximately 86,537, up from last year's 
estimate of 66,463. According to UNDCP and 
non-governmental organizations working in 
the health sector, the actual number is 
significantly higher, totaling about 400-
500,000. Heroin is cheap in Burma, and 
intravenous use of heroin contributed to 
the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly 
in the Kachin and Shan States. According 
to the GOB's "Rapid Assessment Study Of 
Drug Abuse In Myanmar" sponsored by the 
Ministry of Health and UNDCP in 1995, drug 
treatment services are not reaching most 
drug users because of a lack of 
facilities, lack of properly trained 
personnel, and inadequate treatment 
methods. The Non-Governmental Organization 
(NGO) "World Concern" is implementing a 
demand-reduction project in Kachin State. 

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives 

Direct material USG counternarcotics aid 
to Burma has remained suspended since 
1988, when the Burmese military brutally 
repressed the pro-democracy movement. In 
1998, the GOB refused to renew a crop 
substitution project, Project Old Soldier, 
by the U.S. NGO 101 Veterans, Inc., in 25 
villages in the Kutkai area of northern 
Shan State. Currently, the USG engages the 
Burmese government on counternarcotics on 
a very limited level. DEA, through the 
U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, shares drug-
related intelligence with the GOB and 
conducts joint drug-enforcement 
investigations with Burmese 
counternarcotics authorities. Various U.S. 
agencies have conducted opium yield 
surveys in the mountainous regions of the 
Shan State in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 
1999, with essential assistance provided 
by Burmese counterparts. In cooperation 
with Burmese counternarcotics personnel, 
the USG plans to conduct another survey in 
early 2000. Results from the surveys give 
both governments a much more accurate 
understanding of the scope, magnitude, and 
changing geographic distribution of 
Burma's opium crop. 

The U.S. Government continues frequently 
to urge the Burmese government to take 
serious steps to curb Burma's large-scale 
opium production and heroin trafficking. 
Specifically, the Rangoon regime has been 
encouraged to: 

Prosecute drug-trafficking organizations 
and their leaders, and deprive them of 
assets derived from the drug trade; 
Take action against drug-related 
corruption, including prosecution and 
appropriate punishment of corrupt 
officials and money launderers; 
Take action against fugitive drug-
traffickers and turn them over to third 

Undertake opium poppy eradication on a 
wide scale in areas under its direct 
control or immediate influence; 

Press ethnic groups, such as the Wa, the 
Kokang, and the Kachin, who have pledged 
to create opium-free zones in their 
regions, to make good on their 

Enforce existing anti-drug, conspiracy, 
and anti-money-laundering legislation; 
Provide strong support to multilateral 
drug-control projects in Shan State. 

Bilateral Cooperation.

 USG counternarcotics cooperation with the 
Burmese regime is restricted to basic law-
enforcement operations. The U.S. provides 
no bilateral material or training 
assistance due to U.S. concerns over 
Burma's commitment to effective 
counternarcotics measures, human rights, 
and political reform. DEA's liaison with 
Burmese policymakers and military 
officials-conducted mainly through DEA's 
office in Rangoon-will continue and will 
focus on providing intelligence on 
enforcement targets and coordinating 
investigations of international drug-
trafficking groups. 

The Road Ahead.

 Based on experience in dealing with 
significant narcotics-trafficking problems 
elsewhere around the world, the USG 
recognizes that ultimately large-scale and 
long-term international aid, including 
development assistance and law-enforcement 
aid, will be needed to curb fundamentally 
and irreversibly drug production and 
trafficking. The USG strongly urges the 
GOB to commit itself fully and 
unambiguously to implementing effective 
counternarcotics measures, respecting the 
rule of law, punishing drug traffickers 
and major trafficking organizations 
(including asset forfeiture and seizure), 
combating corruption, enforcing anti-
money-laundering legislation, continuing 
eradication of opium cultivation, 
destroying drug-processing laboratories, 
and respecting human rights. 




March 3, 2000

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister 
Korn Dabaransi's humanitarian visit to Burma this 
week was understood to be an incremental step 
towards improving bilateral ties which have nose-
dived since the October storming of the Burmese 
Embassy in Bangkok by five armed Burmese activists. 
Korn witnessed the setting up of the first Thai-
Burmese Commission on border public health co-
operation in an urgent response to the growing 
cross-border spread of malaria and HIV, the virus 
which causes Aids. 

Korn also handed over medical provisions, including 
anti-malaria pills and other medication, as well as 
medical equipment, worth about Bt5 million to his 
Burmese counterpart Lt Gen Khin Nyunt as part of 
the government's assistance programme to Burma 
which was launched in 1992. 

Khin Nyunt, who is secretary number one of the 
ruling State Peace and Development Council, 
strongly praised the assistance package as being a 
sincere gesture and one that should be continued. 
The diplomatic niceties aside, it is difficult to 
know whether Rangoon is sincere about putting an 
end to the well-documented human suffering along 
the border, much of which it is responsible for. 
While the supplies are meant to help alleviate the 
suffering of Burmese people in the area, it should 
be remembered that many are dying each year from 
malaria and other illnesses because of fighting 
between government troops and armed insurgency 

At the same time, the pro-active approach has 
helped health care authorities in Thai border 
provinces adjacent to Burma to better control the 
spread of deadly epidemics, in particular malaria 
which has recently become a problem again, albeit 
small at this stage. Nevertheless there was an 80 
per cent increase in the number of Thais infected 
with malaria and Aids along the border in Chiang 
Rai last year. 

The government also revealed that it spent about 
Bt180 million last year on border health care 
services in which 80 per cent of the clients were 
Burmese migrants who had fled disease and 
starvation caused by Burma's political troubles in 
order to scratch out a living in Thailand. 
The flip-side to this humanitarian gesture is that 
Thailand may well be wasting its money, that the 
aid may help to ease the health problems but will 
not have any effect on the suffering inside Burma. 
There is also the fact that the economic benefits 
from the supply of cheap Burmese labour go only to 
a handful of business people and in no way matches 
the hidden cost of social damage caused by the 
intake of migrants. 

The government should be aware that this evanescent 
assistance could serve to perpetuate Rangoon's 
harsh treatment and annihilation of its people. 
Cooperation with Thailand could also assist Rangoon 
to attract more financial resources that it badly 
needs even as international sanctions against its 
repressive regime remain intact. 

The stark reality is that it is the continued 
conflicts in Burma that have been the main 
contributor to the country's internal displacement. 
Relief workers at Bangkok's recent regional meeting 
on internally-displaced persons have estimated 
there are five million displaced people in Asia, 
with the Burmese making up the biggest portion in 
Southeast Asia. 

To keep the lid on the spread of malaria and the 
deadly HIV virus, the government needs to encourage 
Rangoon to take an urgent and viable approach to 
it, not the least of which would be a political 
solution to the armed conflicts in the country to 
allow the displaced to return home. Otherwise, no 
amount of humanitarian aid can effectively stop 
this human suffering. 

The Nation



March 3, 2000

SENATE MAJORITY Leader Trent Lott has indicated
that the Senate will finally hold up-or-down 
votes on judicial nominees Richard Paez and 
Marsha Berzon by March 15. Judge Paez has waited 
four years for the Senate to consider his 
nomination, and Ms. Berzon has waited two. Both 
nominees to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are 
well qualified. It is time both were confirmed. 

The ostensible reason for the opposition to these 
appointments is that the nominees allegedly harbor 
tendencies toward "judicial activism." In neither 
case, however, is the allegation justified. Judge 
Paez made a single ill-advised remark about a 
proposed anti-affirmative action ballot initiative 
in California; his opponents also criticize him 
because, as a district court judge, he refused 
to dismiss a human rights lawsuit against a 
company doing business in Burma. Ms. Berzon stands 
accused of favoring abortion rights and supporting 
the labor movement. Such positions may trouble 
principled conservatives, but they are not the sort 
of ideological differences that should keep 
well-qualified nominees off the bench. 

Some conservatives dislike the comparative 
liberalism of the 9th Circuit itself and 
so are reluctant to  confirm judges who do 
not obviously break with that court's current 
tendency. But diversity among circuits 
is healthy, and the 9th Circuit is by no 
means a rogue operation out of the bounds 
of respectable legal thinking. Judge Paez 
and Ms. Berzon would be good additions to 
the court--and they have waited too long for 
the Senate to say so 

[BurmaNet adds:  Judge Richard Paez is presiding
over the two cases filed primarily by Burmese 
refugees who claim they were subjected to forced 
labor, forced relocation and other harms because 
of the Yadana Pipeline, a joint venture between 
Union Oil of California (Unocal), Total and the 
Burmese regime.  

Currently, both cases are nearing the end of 
discovery and Unocal has moved for summary judgment.  
Depending on the outcome of the summary judgment 
motions, it is possible the cases could go to trial 
during 2000.

If Judge Paez is confirmed for a seat on the
9th Circuit, the cases would have to be
turned over to another Federal judge in
Los Angeles and could significantly delay
the trial.

Related Link: http://www.burmafund.org/Research_Li



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