UNODC Responds To KIO’s Criticism

The UN group said it didn’t specify which armed group is involved in the drug trade.

Network Media Group

March 3, 2019

The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) disputed criticism by Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) that claimed it said in the Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 the armed group was involved in the opium trade in an official statement.

” … the Survey provides accurate data and analysis,” said the UNODC statement. ”…. it should also be noted that the report does not aim to describe precise control of a particular area.” The statement said. However, it found that opium cultivation and the armed struggle are linked.

According to the survey, poppy cultivation has decreased in the country. In Kachin State, it has decreased by 13 percent. But it found increases in areas where the KIO’s military wing, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), have been active. Sadon and Tanai, located east of Myitkyina, had the highest opium cultivation densities between 2013 to 2018.

Col Naw Bu, head of KIO’s information department, explained the areas the survey found poppy cultivations are not under the KIO’s control. They are controlled by Border Guard Forces or the Burmese Army.

The KIO created the Drugs Eradication Committee in 1993 to rid its controlled areas of illicit drugs, it claims.