Think tank welcomes Myanmar’s illegal drug law review


An unidentified farmer showing raw opium in an opium poppy field in Lone Twel village, Loilen Township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar, December 13, 2014. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The Washington DC-based Transnational Institute has welcomed the Myanmar government’s recent decision to review their largely outdated drugs and related laws, according to a press release announcing the publication of a new report on February 16.

The think tank has just published a report entitled, “Towards a Healthier Legal Environment: A Review of Myanmar’s Drug Laws,” which examines the challenges faced in tackling the rampant illegal drug production and consumption problems in the country – a crisis so bad that the country is second only to Afghanistan worldwide when it comes to illegal drug production.

The decision of the Myanmar Government to review the law is not only timely but also offers a prospect to improve the drugs legislation and to ensure that the laws address drug-related problems in the country more effectively, according to the Transnational Institute.

The Myanmar authorities have been working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to strengthen the rule of law and counter drug threats, signing an agreement on August 18, 2014.

The report reviews Myanmar’s drug laws and related policies, including the 1917 Burma Excise Act, the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, and the 1995 Rules relating to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The decision of the Myanmar Government to review the law is not only timely but also offers a prospect to improve the drugs legislation and to ensure that the laws address drug-related problems in the country more effectively. It is an opportunity to ensure that affected populations have access to health care and development, taking into account both national conditions and international developments and best practices, the think tank says.

Drug production and consumption trends have changed over the years and Myanmar faces several serious drug-related challenges. Myanmar is currently the second largest producer of raw opium in the world, after Afghanistan. After a period of initial decline, poppy cultivation in the country has tripled again since 2006.

Drugs production and trafficking have fuelled conflict in Myanmar, which has experienced decades of civil war. It has stimulated corruption and contributed to lack of rule of law. The drug trade is a highly profitable business, and has attracted international criminal syndicates who have aligned themselves with conflict actors in Myanmar, the report says.

More Articles

....