In another grim signal of a widening war in northern Burma's opium zones, last week saw an outbreak of intense fighting between government forces and ethnic rebels, prompting some 50,000 Kokang civilians to flee across the border to China.
Despite a democratic opening and hopes for peace with the ethnic insurgencies in the northern hinterlands, horrific accounts of rights abuses continue to emerge from the multi-sided war over Burma's opium production.
To mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking June 26, Burmese authorities held drug-burning ceremonies, boasting the destruction of seized opium, heroin and methamphetamine said to be worth a combined $130 million.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its newly released annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey (PDF) finds that opium production in Burma continued to increase in 2013 -- up 26% to an estimated 870 metric tons. This is the highest amount since the UN began keeping trac...