UNODC Press release 6.01. Drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle

6 January 2009 – UNODC has just published the second volume of “De Narcoticis”; a series of photojournalism books depicting the lives of real people involved in – or touched by – the trade in illicit drugs.
This second volume takes as its canvas the area which has come to be known as the Golden Triangle; the part of South East Asia encompassing Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The first volume focused on Colombia. UNODC has been active here for many years, with much success. The area now produces only 5 per cent of the world’s opiates (down from over 70 per cent some 30 years ago) and UNODC has been influential in bringing local governments together in a common fight against the drug trade.
The book is produced by award-winning photographer, journalist and UNODC goodwill ambassador, Alessandro Scotti. Scotti says that the “de Narcoticis” project “gives a face to the protagonists of this world. It’s an underworld which has been examined closely enough to give us plenty of figures and statistics, but which is less known for its personal stories”.
The stories in the book are varied: it does not judge any of the characters involved, and there are many. They range from enforcement officers to traffickers, plantation workers to addicts in treatment centres; people united only by the fact that they all occupy some small part of the long drug trafficking chain. continue

U.N. General Assembly isn’t the right forum for dealing with Burma regime

In a vote of 80 to 25 with 45 abstentions, the U.N. General Assembly on 24 December 2008 adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations by the Burmese military regime. The resolution called for the release of over 2,100 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. continue

UN’s ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ Won’t Work in Burma

irrawaddynews, The international community responded to the disaster with sympathy and offers of material aid. The US, Britain and France sent warships to the area, loaded with food, medicines and other supplies. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured the cyclone-flattened region and met leaders of the military government, urging them to allow more aid into Burma.

Not surprisingly, the junta opened the door slightly to aid agencies after dragging its heels on the dispatch of emergency relief to the cyclone victims.

At the same time, the regime went ahead with its sham referendum, claiming 92 percent approval for its proposed constitution.

Then, to the surprise of many, the regime launched its “shock and awe” strategy, handing out heavy prison sentences to prominent opposition leaders and humanitarian workers and sending them separately to remote prisons.

Now it is shocking to learn that Gambari has suggested that governments should offer Burma financial incentives to free its political prisoners, estimated to number more than 2,000—including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi—and to initiate democratic change.

The Nigerian diplomat must be insane to think that the corrupt generals who terrorized the whole nation can be bribed into compromise.

The influential Washington Post has reported: “In the months ahead, the UN leadership will press the Obama administration to relax US policy on Burma and to open the door to a return of international financial institutions, including the World Bank.”

Several years ago, when the World Bank offered the Burmese regime US $1 billion in return for political reform, it was told, in effect: “Don’t give us bananas, we are not monkeys.”

Minutes of a meeting between Gambari and a UN Burma team led by Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe—obtained by The Irrawaddy—seem to suggest that Gambari, a citizen of one of Africa’s failed states, is giving advice to some officials from a failed state of Southeast Asia. continue