Shan resistance explains drug cooperation with government, UNODC

A booklet recently published by the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) says the tripartite cooperation with the government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) is most important in the ultimate solution of the long standing drug problem in the country.

“Although the eventual solution of the drug problem rests with the political settlement, the drug situation among the people is so severe, the solution for the drug problem should be sought simultaneously with the search for the political solution,” reads its Shan version.

The 82 page booklet has been presented in three languages: Shan, Burmese and English. All the data included in the report are before June 2013, before the RCSS/SSA leader Sao Yawd Serk made his historic trip to meet President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw, where he also discussed the drug issue with the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC).

The group had signed a 9 point agreement with the government and UNODC on 28 October 2012 for a pilot project in Mongnai and Mongpan township, in southern Shan State.

The reason for the delay in the implementation was explained to SHAN by a top CCDAC official as shortage of funds, while the UNODC had attributed to the continued fighting between the Burma Army and the SSA South despite the ceasefire signed on 2 December 2011.

The SSA South meanwhile says another reason was the security issue at the projected sites. The SSA had proposed that it should be a joint responsibility, while Naypyitaw insisted that there should be no SSA armed personnel. Yawd Serk later told SHAN, “There should be no unnecessary delay due to this because our troops with be operating outside the project sites anyway.”

According to the reports, the RCSS/SSA’s Anti Narcotics Committee (ANC), headed by Sai Harn, Sai Wun Kherh and Sai Hseng Wan, had held:

  • 7 meetings with the U Ye Naing Win, head of the Shan State CCDAC, and U Win Tun, Chief of Shan State Police Force
  • 4 meetings with the UNODC’s Burma representative Jason Eligh
  • 1 public consultation in Mongnai

The ANC also conducted a trial assessment in Mongnai and Mongpan and a month long training on illicit drugs eradication based on the experiences on the royal projects in Thailand.

The RCSS/SSA received a Golden Eagle Award conferred by Privy Councilor Gen Pichit Kullavanich on 23 June 2012 for “Good relationship and Cooperating Information in Anti Narcotics (Campaign).”

One American official, during a meeting with Yawd Serk, told him despite progress on the drug front being made, the United States was “still keeping its eyes wide open” on the RCSS/SSA. “I’m glad to hear you’re are doing it,” Yawd Serk replied.


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