Crime & Justice

Myanmar military junta admits failure to check drug production, trafficking

Bangkok, Jun 26 (EFE).- The military junta at Myanmar said Monday that it has failed to curb drug production and trafficking, while holding a symbolic ceremony in which $446 million worth of narcotics were burned across the country.

“Even though countless drug abusers, producers, traffickers and cartels were arrested and prosecuted, the production and trafficking of drugs have not declined at all,” said Minister for Home Affairs Soe Hut, according to “The Global New Light of Myanmar,” a media affiliated to the military junta.

Meanwhile, the country’s security forces burned $446 million worth of drugs in rural areas and in cities like Yangon and Mandalay on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The regime’s resolve to curb drug trafficking has been questioned by several analysts, given that opium production in Myanmar rose by 88 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to a UN report released in January.

This marks an unprecedented increase in a country plagued by economic, political and social crises since the military coup on Jan.1, 2021, which brought an end to a decade of democratic transition and exacerbated the existing conflict between the army and ethnic guerrillas, while new pro-democratic resistance movements emerged.

The drugs produced in the Golden Triangle – a region around the Mekong River where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos converge – are trafficked to neighboring nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and China, as well as to distant countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh.

In early June, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warned of a shift in drug trafficking routes in Southeast Asia, especially through the sea, to bypass areas with greater checks.

Meanwhile, the UN, in its World Drug Report 2023, reported a worrying increase in the production and consumption of drugs in the world, while denouncing that inequalities aggravate the harmful effect of addictions on a global scale.

The report, released on Sunday in Vienna, revealed that drug users increased by 23 percent in the last decade to 296 million. Cannabis remains the most popular drug, followed by opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, and “ecstasy” stimulants. EFE


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