About Myanmar in Focus

TNI's Myanmar in Focus project strengthens (ethnic) civil society and political reform to deal with the challenges brought about by the rapid opening-up of the country, while also working to bring about an inclusive and sustainable peace. TNI has developed a unique expertise on Myanmar’s ethnic regions, and through its programme is bringing the whole Institute’s work on agrarian justice, alternative development and a humane drugs policy together. The work in Myanmar is coordinated from the Amsterdam office.


In the field of drug policyTNI has long focused on opium production and its relation with drug policies in the country. Together with civil society organisations, such as the Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum, TNI analyses and proposes alternatives to repressive supply reduction policies, including forced eradication, whose socio-economic repercussions are mainly endured by poppy growing communities residing in areas afflicted by conflict and poverty. In advancing drug law reform in Myanmar, TNI works closely with local organisations including the Drug Policy Advocacy Group (DPAG) Myanmar, to promote human rights and harm reduction for people who use drugs.

Furthermore, Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, which is why TNI also discusses issues related to ethnic conflict in Myanmar. While making up to 40 per cent of the population, ethnic minority groups have long been marginalised and denied basic rights due to decades of civil war and competing economic interests in areas and resources on which many nationality peoples depend for survival. TNI’s work in this field centralises around promoting the active role of ethnic-based civil society organisations in peace, reform and policy-making processes.

Above all, TNI regularly analyses and proposes alternatives to land policies in Myanmar. Rural communities in Myanmar have deep social, economic and cultural ties with their land and related resources. However, the ever-growing corporate interests in extractive industries and mega infrastructure projects has led to the adoption of measures, such as land confiscations, that result in the displacement of villagers whose lives are further threatened by conflict in many regions of the country. TNI works closely in this field with local movements to promote policies that prioritise the human rights of rural communities to access land, water, forests, and fisheries.

Learn more about our activities and achievements from our 2017 annual report.