Burma/Myanmar is undergoing yet another humanitarian crisis while entering a new critical political stage. In the Kokang region, an opium ban was enforced in 2003, and since mid-2005 no more poppy growing has been allowed in the Wa region. Banning opium in these Shan State regions where most of the Burmese opiates were produced, adds another chapter to the long and dramatic history of drugs, conflict and human suffering.
Whilst a twenty year ceasefire still holds, there is unlikely to be peace and democracy in Burma without a political settlement that addresses ethnic minority needs and goals. The joint Transnational Institute - Burma Center Netherlands aims to stimulate strategic thinking to address ethnic conflict in Burma and give a voice to ethnic nationality groups who have until now been ignored and isolated within the international debate on the country.
TNI's Myanmar in Focus project strengthens (ethnic) civil society and political actors 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.
TNI's work on Burma began in 2003 as part of our Drugs and Democracy programme, through an investigation of opium farming in the country, but has since extended through our partnership with the Burma Center Netherlands to analysis more exclusively focused on the country's long-standing ethnic conflict.