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The human impact of drugs in Burma

Individual Documents

Title: Woman raped and killed in Pa'an District, October 2012
Date of publication: 11 December 2012
Description/subject: "This report information was submitted to KHRG in November 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Pa'an District, during October 2012. On October 14th, a 21-year-old M--- villager, named Naw W---, was killed after being raped by a 23-year-old man from P--- village, Saw N---. Saw N--- reportedly used amphetamines that were manufactured and distributed by Border Guard Battalion #1016. According to villagers in T'Nay Hsah Township, the drug has caused problems for local communities, which are looking for ways to control use and distribution."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (38K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2012/khrg12b85.html
Date of entry/update: 23 December 2012


Title: Voices for Change: Domestic Violence and Gender Discrimination in the Palaung Area (Burmese)
Date of publication: 25 November 2011
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report documents how women in the Palaung area are affected by domestic violence and gender discrimination. Survey results collected by PWO show that almost all respondents had experienced or seen physical violence within families in their community, and that physical violence is occurring with alarming frequency, in many cases on an almost daily basis. PWO’s research shows that gender discrimination is widespread in the Palaung area, and that many people’s attitudes conform to traditional gender stereotypes which assume that women must fulfil the role of homemaker and accept sole responsibility for childcare duties. Since the 2010 election, Burma’s military-backed regime has failed to take any effective action to promote women’s rights and gender equality, or to uphold its commitments to CEDAW. Burma remains one of only two ASEAN countries lacking a specific law criminalising domestic violence, and PWO’s research has found that there are no government-led projects to raise awareness of domestic violence and women’s rights in the rural areas of northern Shan State, where the vast majority of the Palaung population live. The ‘new’ regime has yet to address the economic and social crises fuelling domestic violence in the Palaung area. The economic crisis afflicting the Palaung people as a direct result of the state’s monopoly of the tea industry, as well as the increase in opium cultivation and addiction in the Palaung area since the 2010 election have directly contributed to the problem of domestic violence, as males resort to physical violence as a means of expressing their anger and frustration with their situation. More than five decades of civil war have bred a culture of male domination, fear, and violence in Burma. Palaung people, especially males, have been socialised into this culture, and see violence as a necessary means of asserting their authority over their wives, in the same way as the state uses violence to assert its authority over Burma’s ethnic nationalities. The regime appears to have no intention of bringing an end to Burma’s culture of violence, and continues to wage war against ethnic rebels in northern Shan State. 5 Domestic violence has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. Apart from the obvious physical impact of domestic violence, women also suffer psychologically. Domestic violence threatens the stability of the family unit, often has a negative impact on children’s education, and acts as an obstacle to community development. Burma’s military-backed regime needs to recognise domestic violence and gender discrimination as obstacles to achieving a peaceful society in Burma, and to embark upon a program of genuine political reform which addresses the social and economic factors fuelling domestic violence and gender discrimination."
Language: Burmese
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization (PWO)
Format/size: pdf (1.91MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungwomen.com
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


Title: Voices for Change: Domestic Violence and Gender Discrimination in the Palaung Area (English)
Date of publication: 25 November 2011
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report documents how women in the Palaung area are affected by domestic violence and gender discrimination. Survey results collected by PWO show that almost all respondents had experienced or seen physical violence within families in their community, and that physical violence is occurring with alarming frequency, in many cases on an almost daily basis. PWO’s research shows that gender discrimination is widespread in the Palaung area, and that many people’s attitudes conform to traditional gender stereotypes which assume that women must fulfi l the role of homemaker and accept sole responsibility for childcare duties. Since the 2010 election, Burma’s military-backed regime has failed to take any effective action to promote women’s rights and gender equality, or to uphold its commitments to CEDAW. Burma remains one of only two ASEAN countries lacking a specifi c law criminalising domestic violence, and PWO’s’ research has found that there are no government-led projects to raise awareness of domestic violence and women’s rights in the rural areas of northern Shan State, where the vast majority of the Palaung population live. The ‘new’ regime has yet to address the economic and social crises fuelling domestic violence in the Palaung area. The economic crisis affl icting the Palaung people as a direct result of the state’s monopoly of the tea industry, as well as the increase in opium cultivation and addiction in the Palaung area since the 2010 election have directly contributed to the problem of domestic violence, as males resort to physical violence as a means of expressing their anger and frustration with their situation. More than fi ve decades of civil war have bred a culture of male domination, fear, and violence in Burma. Palaung people, especially males, have been socialised into this culture, and see violence as a necessary means of asserting their authority over their wives, in the same way as the state uses violence to assert its authority over Burma’s ethnic nationalities. The regime appears to have no intention of bringing an end to Burma’s culture of violence, and continues to wage war against ethnic rebels in northern Shan State. 5 Domestic violence has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. Apart from the obvious physical impact of domestic violence, women also suffer psychologically. Domestic violence threatens the stability of the family unit, often has a negative impact on children’s education, and acts as an obstacle to community development. Burma’s military-backed regime needs to recognise domestic violence and gender discrimination as obstacles to achieving a peaceful society in Burma, and to embark upon a program of genuine political reform which addresses the social and economic factors fuelling domestic violence and gender discrimination."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organisation
Format/size: pdf (1.5MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungwomen.com
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


Title: Still Poisoned - Opium cultivation soars in Palaung areas under Burma’s new regime (English, Burmese press release)
Date of publication: October 2011
Description/subject: Summary: "Almost one year after Burma’s long-awaited elections were held in November 2010, Palaung communities in northern Shan State are suffering from the effects of an even greater upsurge in opium cultivation than in previous years. Local paramilitary leaders, some now elected into Burma’s new parliament, are being allowed to cultivate and profi t from drugs in return for helping the regime suppress ethnic resistance forces in Burma’s escalating civil war. As a result, drug addiction has escalated in the Palaung area, tearing apart families and communities. Burma’s drug problems are set to worsen unless there is genuine political reform that addresses the political aspirations of Burma’s ethnic minority groups. Research carried out by Palaung Women’s Organisation in Namkham Township shows that: 􀂃 Opium cultivation across 15 villages in Namkham Township has increased by a staggering 78.58% within two years. 􀂃 12 villages in the same area, which had not previously grown opium, have started to grow opium since 2009. 􀂃 A signifi cant number of these villages are under the control of government paramilitary “anti-insurgency” forces, which are directly profi ting from the opium trade. 􀂃 The most prominent militia leader and druglord in the area, “Pansay” Kyaw Myint, from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, was elected as an MP for Namkham in November 2010; he promised voters that they could grow opium freely for 5 years if they voted for him. 􀂃 Government troops, police and militia continue to openly tax opium farmers, and to collect bribes from drug addicts in exchange for their release from custody. 􀂃 Drug addiction in Palaung communities has spiralled out of control. In one Palaung village, PWO found that 91% of males aged 15 and over were addicted to drugs. Drug addiction is causing huge problems for families, with women and children bearing the burden of increased poverty, crime and violence."
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization (PWO)
Format/size: pdf (417K; Burmese press release 68K; English press release 85K))
Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungwomen.com
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs12/Still_Poisoned-PR(bu).pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs12/Still_Poisoned-Press_Release(en).pdf
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2011


Title: Poisoned Hills - Opium cultivation surges under government control in Burma (Burmese)
Date of publication: 26 January 2010
Description/subject: Executive Summary: Community assessments by the Palaung Women's Organisation during the past two years reveal that the amount of opium being cultivated in Burma's northern Shan State has been increasing dramatically. The amounts are far higher than reported in the annual opium surveys of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and are flourishing not in "insurgent and ceasefire areas," as claimed by the UN, but in areas controlled by Burma's military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Between 2007-2009, PWO conducted field surveys in Namkham and Mantong townships, and found that the total area of opium cultivated increased almost fivefold over three years from 964 hectares in the 2006-7 season to 4,545 hectares in the 2008-9 season. Namkham and Mantong are both fully under the control of the SPDC. The areas have an extensive security infrastructure including Burma Army battalions, police, and pro-government village militia. These militia are allowed to engage in illicit income-generating activities in exchange for policing against resistance activity, and are being expanded in the lead up to the regime's planned 2010 elections. Local authorities, in "anti-drug teams" formed by the police in each township, have been systematically extorting fees from villagers in exchange for allowing them to grow opium. During the 2007-8 season in Mantong township, at least 37 million kyat (US$37,000) in bribes in total were collected from 28 villages. PWO data shows that the "anti-drug teams" are leaving the majority of opium fields intact, and are filing false eradication data to the police headquarters. PWO found that only 11% of the poppy fields during the 2008-9 season had been destroyed, mostly only in easily visible places. The fact that authorities are profiting from drug production is enabling drug abuse to flourish. In one village surveyed in Mantong, it was found that that the percentage of men aged 15 and over addicted to opium increased from 57% in 2007 to 85% in 2009. Around the town of Namkham, heroin addicts flock openly to "drug camps," and dealers sell heroin and amphetamines from their houses. PWO's findings thus highlight the structural issues underlying the drug problem in Burma. The regime is pursuing a strategy of increased militarization in the ethnic states to crush ethnic resistance movements, instead of entering into political negotiations with them. For this, it needs an ever growing security apparatus, which in turn is subsidized by the drug trade. The regime's desire to maintain power at all costs is thus taking precedence over its stated aims of drug eradication. Unless the regime's militarization strategies are challenged, international funding will make little difference to the drug problem in Burma. A negotiated resolution of the political issues at the root of Burma's civil war is urgently needed to seriously address the drug scourge which is impacting the region..."
Language: Burmese
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (3.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs08/Poisoned_Hills-PWO.pdf (English)
Date of entry/update: 29 January 2010


Title: Poisoned Hills - Opium cultivation surges under government control in Burma (English)
Date of publication: 26 January 2010
Description/subject: Executive Summary: Community assessments by the Palaung Women's Organisation during the past two years reveal that the amount of opium being cultivated in Burma's northern Shan State has been increasing dramatically. The amounts are far higher than reported in the annual opium surveys of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and are flourishing not in "insurgent and ceasefire areas," as claimed by the UN, but in areas controlled by Burma's military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Between 2007-2009, PWO conducted field surveys in Namkham and Mantong townships, and found that the total area of opium cultivated increased almost fivefold over three years from 964 hectares in the 2006-7 season to 4,545 hectares in the 2008-9 season. Namkham and Mantong are both fully under the control of the SPDC. The areas have an extensive security infrastructure including Burma Army battalions, police, and pro-government village militia. These militia are allowed to engage in illicit income-generating activities in exchange for policing against resistance activity, and are being expanded in the lead up to the regime's planned 2010 elections. Local authorities, in "anti-drug teams" formed by the police in each township, have been systematically extorting fees from villagers in exchange for allowing them to grow opium. During the 2007-8 season in Mantong township, at least 37 million kyat (US$37,000) in bribes in total were collected from 28 villages. PWO data shows that the "anti-drug teams" are leaving the majority of opium fields intact, and are filing false eradication data to the police headquarters. PWO found that only 11% of the poppy fields during the 2008-9 season had been destroyed, mostly only in easily visible places. The fact that authorities are profiting from drug production is enabling drug abuse to flourish. In one village surveyed in Mantong, it was found that that the percentage of men aged 15 and over addicted to opium increased from 57% in 2007 to 85% in 2009. Around the town of Namkham, heroin addicts flock openly to "drug camps," and dealers sell heroin and amphetamines from their houses. PWO's findings thus highlight the structural issues underlying the drug problem in Burma. The regime is pursuing a strategy of increased militarization in the ethnic states to crush ethnic resistance movements, instead of entering into political negotiations with them. For this, it needs an ever growing security apparatus, which in turn is subsidized by the drug trade. The regime's desire to maintain power at all costs is thus taking precedence over its stated aims of drug eradication. Unless the regime's militarization strategies are challenged, international funding will make little difference to the drug problem in Burma. A negotiated resolution of the political issues at the root of Burma's civil war is urgently needed to seriously address the drug scourge which is impacting the region..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (3.38MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs08/Poisoned_Hills-PWO-bu-red.pdf (Burmese)
Date of entry/update: 26 January 2010


Title: Poisoned Flowers: The Impacts of Spiraling Drug Addiction on Palaung Women in Burma,
Date of publication: 09 June 2006
Description/subject: "'Poisoned Flowers: The Impacts of Spiraling Drug Addiction on Palaung Women in Burma', based on interviews with eighty-eight wives and mothers of drug addicts, shows how women in Palaung areas have become increasingly vulnerable due to the rising addiction rates. Already living in dire poverty, with little access to education or health care, wives of addicts must struggle single-handedly to support as many as ten children. Addicted husbands not only stop providing for their families, but also sell off property and possessions, commit theft, and subject their wives and children to repeated verbal and physical abuse. The report details cases of women losing eight out of eleven children to disease and of daughters being trafficked by their addicted father. The increased addiction rates have resulted from the regime allowing drug lords to expand production into Palaung areas in recent years, in exchange for policing against resistance activity and sharing drug profits. The collapse of markets for tea and other crops has driven more and more farmers to turn to opium growing or to work as labourers in opium fields, where wages are frequently paid in opium. The report throws into question claims by the regime and the UNODC of a dramatic reduction of opium production in Burma during the past decade, and calls on donor countries and UN agencies supporting drug eradication programs in Burma to push for genuine political reform..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization
Format/size: pdf (632K), Word (360K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/PoisonedFlowers.pdf
http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/PoisonedFlowers.doc
Date of entry/update: 08 June 2006