A Distortion of Reality

Drugs, Conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey
Transnational Institute (TNI)
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

After decades of fighting between the central government and various ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar, the links between drugs and conflict have spiraled into a complex chain reaction. The roots of the conflict are political, but very few of the conflict parties in drugs-producing areas can claim to have clean hands when it comes to the narcotics trade. The recently-released “Myanmar Opium Survey 2018” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entails specific accusations against several of the conflict actors and distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar. A neutral and factual survey that promotes accuracy about the realities on the ground could bring peoples together and serve as a basis for discussion, understanding and national reconciliation. But a biased and one-sided survey will only create further divisions and greater obstacles for mutual cooperation in the future.