Index of "International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports"
Index of "Treaties and Legal Information" ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS MATTERS
INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRAGEGY REPORT
SOUTHWEST ASIA 219
Sri Lanka 9
Afghanistan is the world's second largest producer of opium after Burma. According to USG estimates, cultivated opium poppy acreage in Afghanistan in 1993 increased by 8.3 percent, to 21,080 hectares, with a potential yield of 685 metric tons of opium. If all of this opium were refined, it would yield about 68.5 metric tons of heroin. Up to 20 percent of the heroin consumed in the US now appears to come from Southwest Asia, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most of the heroin exported from the region goes to Europe. Since the end of the Soviet occupation, the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) has publicly stated its opposition to drug trafficking and abuse. However, the persistent failure of Afghanistan's competing factions to achieve an overall political settlement continues to deny the GOA control over much of the country and has prevented it from taking effective concrete measures against the illegal narcotics trade. For the same reason, Afghanistan has made no significant progress in implementing the provisions of the 1988 UN Convention, which it ratified in February 1992. The USG has official contacts with the government in Kabul in accord with efforts to promote a political settlement and a stable government. The lack of central authority, however, has permitted only very modest USG initiatives in support of Afghan counternarcotics efforts.
II. Status of Country
Afghanistan, with poppy cultivation in 14 of its 30 provinces, is second only to Burma in potential opium production. Two provinces, Nangarhar and Helmand, traditionally have accounted for over 70 percent of the country's total. In 1993, Nangarhar province alone accounted for over 50 percent of Afghan opium poppy cultivation, while Helmand accounted for just under 20 percent. The steady increase in opium production during the past four years may be attributed primarily to persistently poor economic conditions, which encourage farmers and returning refugees to produce opium as a cash crop. Demand for opium by heroin producers, especially in Pakistan, undoubtedly also has played a role. Most of Afghanistan's raw opium is shipped to laboratories in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, where it is refined into heroin and morphine base. Part of this is consumed as heroin by a regional addict population which extends from Iran to India. The remainder is exported, primarily to Europe, but also to North America. Morphine and heroin base are also exported in large quantities to Iran for transshipment to illicit heroin laboratories in Turkey. There is increasing international concern that Afghan traffickers are transporting opiates into and through Tajikistan and other Newly Independent Central Asian Republics.
Afghanistan is not usually considered a heroin producer, but persistent reports of the existence of heroin labs--including credible evidence in at least one case--suggest that some Afghans may now have taken up this aspect of the narcotics trade.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. Afghanistan's leaders recognize the seriousness of their country's drug problems as well as the impediments it presents to obtaining significant international development and reconstruction assistance. The current interim leadership in Kabul has taken a strong public stand against illicit cultivation and drug trafficking with various actions. It has established an interagency state High Commission, whose head reports directly to the President, focused on supply and demand aspects of the drug problem. The Commission has prepared a National Drug Strategy document. The Kabul authorities sent a high-level delegation to the November UN General Assembly plenary session on drugs, and it has expressed its willingness to join a regional drug interdiction agreement with Iran, Pakistan, and the UNDCP. These and other initiatives, of course, are limited to those areas under the control of the government and its supporters.
Accomplishments. Persistent factional fighting and political instability in Kabul and elsewhere prevented any counternarcotics achievements in Afghanistan during the year. Continued economic disruption throughout most of the country also played a role in encouraging farmers and returning refugees to take up opium poppy cultivation as a cash crop. Afghan leaders, however, clearly have received the message that narcotics control is a major concern of the international community, and that a failure to take adequate measures to stem narcotics production and trafficking will seriously impede reconstruction assistance. In addition, leaders in some regions of the country have worked to curtail illicit crop cultivation, seized narcotics, and jailed users and traffickers.
Corruption. The GOA, as a matter of policy, does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or other controlled substances. However, media and other reports allege that the GOA's nominal Prime Minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has been involved in drug trafficking. Credible reports allege the direct involvement of other leaders at all levels in narcotics production and trafficking, and the indirect involvement of others who provide security to the narcotics trade in return for payment.
Cultivation and Production. Opium poppy cultivation and yield estimates for Afghanistan are based on USG satellite imagery surveys. The 1993 cultivation total of 21,080 hectares represents an increase of 8.3 percent over the 1992 total, and continues the rising trend in poppy cultivation of the past four years. This extent of cultivation represents a potential opium yield of 685 metric tons, up 45 metric tons from 1992. Opium poppy is cultivated in 14 of Afghanistan's 30 provinces. Two provinces, Nangarhar and Helmand, have traditionally accounted for the largest share--during some years as much as 88 percent--of Afghan poppy and opium production. These two provinces maintained their lead this year, with 52 and 19 percent of overall poppy acreage respectively, although their combined total dropped by some 500 hectares.
The country-wide rise in poppy cultivation in 1993 is therefore attributable entirely to increasing cultivation in other provinces. There were notable increases in cultivation in eight of the 12 traditionally secondary production areas. The provinces of Badakhshan, Bamian, Jowzjan, Kandahar, Kunar,
Laghman, Lowgar, and Oruzgan on average roughly doubled their opium poppy acreage and potential opium production. Only in four provinces--Faryab, Herat, Paktia and Parvan--did cultivation decline.
Most of Afghanistan's raw opium traditionally has been processed into heroin and morphine base in labs outside Afghanistan. The bulk of Afghanistan's opium production takes place in provinces along the Pak-Afghan border, and feeds labs in Pakistan's tribal areas. Some processing also takes place in Iran and Turkey. Persistent reports of the presence of heroin labs in Afghanistan, and for the first time this year, credible evidence of at least one case in southwest Afghanistan, suggest that some Afghans may also be taking up this part of the narcotics trade.
Agreements and Treaties. Afghanistan is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, but not to its 1972 Protocol. It is also a party to the 1971 UN Convention, and on February 14, 1992, became a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Bilateral cooperation for narcotics control with Afghanistan remains difficult because of limited USG contact with the central government. USG bilateral development assistance to Afghanistan was reduced substantially in 1993, and will end entirely in June, 1994. Extreme limitations on the GOA's ability to exercise authority anywhere outside Kabul prevent the implementation of any significant initiatives at the national level. While waiting for the political and security situation to stabilize, initial USG counternarcotics goals and objectives for Afghanistan remain:
-- With GOA approval, to seek opportunities for narcotics control cooperation with regional and local leaders able to enforce commitments against drug production and trafficking.
-- To encourage donor nations, particularly European, which are the key targets of the Afghan drug trade, to enter into cooperative agreements with Afghanistan to control narcotics.
-- To link international development and reconstruction support to Afghanistan for the elimination of opium poppy cultivation, by including opium poppy clauses in all project agreements.
-- At the appropriate time, to help the GOA evaluate the extent of its narcotics problem, develop concrete counternarcotics programs, and begin compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Convention.
The USG initiated a small cross-border narcotics control project in Kandahar province in 1992, providing $164,000 for agriculture and infrastructure projects. This assistance was tied to agreements by local authorities not to permit cultivation of poppy or other illicit crops, and to combat narcotics manufacture, trafficking and abuse. In addition, the USG provided better than matching funds to UNDCP, also for use in Kandahar, making the USG's contribution to drug control in the area $331,500. In 1993, the USG contributed an additional $450,000 to UNDCP, again for use in southwestern Afghanistan.
Project activities in Kandahar illustrated the difficulties associated with the implementation of counternarcotics projects in the present Afghan environment. Projects funded by the USG through the Afghan NGO RIFRA were completed roughly on schedule, according to photographic evidence and eye-witness accounts. However, uncertain security conditions in the project areas have so far precluded direct monitoring by USG employees. Renewed factional fighting in Kandahar during 1993 also undercut the ability of the authorities there to live up to their commitment to counternarcotics enforcement. However, USG and UNDCP projects in Kandahar did attract the attention of commanders in the neighboring Helmand province, with whom the USG has initiated an indirect dialogue. Conditions permitting, this dialogue may lead to the implementation of new counternarcotics activities in this important opium-producing area.
USG and UNDCP efforts during 1993 led to the adoption by UN agencies of uniform poppy-clause language for all project agreements in Afghanistan. Future efforts will focus on persuading other bilateral donors to adopt similar language.
The Road Ahead. When the political situation settles in Afghanistan, the USG will seek to expand gradually policies and programs designed to help Afghanistan implement effective narcotics control measures. A first objective would be to develop an umbrella bilateral narcotics control agreement. The USG might also consider bilateral funding, principally to help Afghanistan start to build effective institutions. Possible programs include training, equipment procurement and technical assistance, such as help with the establishment of a counternarcotics police unit. The USG will also continue to encourage European and other donor nations, as well as international organizations, to help Afghanistan combat its illicit drug problem.
[Charts: Statistical Talbes; Afghan Opion Cultivation 1987-1993]
Bangladesh is not a significant producer of narcotics. It has the potential, however, to become a major transshipment point for heroin, since it borders on important drug producing areas and has limited detection and interdiction capability. The Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), an element of the Home Ministry, is the principal agency within the Bangladesh Government (BDG) responsible for confronting this threat. As a party to the 1988 UN Convention, as well as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Narcotics, the BDG has enacted strict laws against narcotics production, trafficking, and use. It has no bilateral agreements with the United States. A severe lack of resources and weak coordination with other government departments hamper the DNC's enforcement capability. The UNDCP is scheduled to complement current, modest bilateral support to improve Bangladesh's narcotics control efforts with a $1.7 million, 5-year project beginning in 1994.
II. Status of Country
More effective counternarcotics enforcement in nearby Southeast Asian nations makes Bangladesh an attractive alternative transshipment point for Asian heroin destined for international markets. Although most seizures by the BDG have been related to the domestic market, Bangladesh lies adjacent to producing areas, has a long and porous border, and a tradition of cross-border smuggling. The availability of international air and sea links, combined with a modest detection and interdiction capability, creates the potential for large-scale trafficking activities. There are reports of the transshipment of acetic anhydride (AA) from India to mobile heroin laboratories along the border areas inside Burma. The BDG, however, has not yet made any seizures or uncovered evidence to confirm such shipments.
Narcotics abuse in Bangladesh is a small but growing problem. The drug of choice is "brown sugar", a low-quality form of heroin that originates in Pakistan and India. Extreme poverty, a large young-adult population, and high rates of illiteracy and unemployment, provide fertile ground for increased demand, especially if transshipment increases. In the absence of an epidemiological survey and with only limited treatment facilities, the current estimates of 100,000 addicts must be regarded as possibly understated. According to the BDG, the only illicit narcotic produced locally is cannabis. Legally cultivated until 1984, when 34 metric tons were produced, an unknown amount of cannabis is now grown illegally, primarily for domestic consumption. The BDG also reports that small amounts of cannabis are smuggled from India and Nepal.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The BDG passed the Narcotics Control Act in 1990, which updated drug laws and brought the country into conformity with most of the major provisions of the 1988 UN Convention. In 1993, the BDG approved a UNDCP five-year Master Plan for Drug Abuse Control in Bangladesh that includes steps for improving compliance with the 1988 UN Convention and the 1990 SAARC Convention on Narcotics. The plan includes steps to enact legislation on the forfeiture of assets, controlled delivery, extradition, and international cooperation. The 1990 Narcotics Control Act established the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) to enforce the Act's provisions prohibiting production, trafficking, and use of illicit narcotics, with strict penalties for violators. Since its formation, the DNC has been hampered in its efforts by insufficient human and material resources. These problems have been exacerbated by a lack of coordination among the various government agencies sharing responsibility for narcotics control, including the police, border patrol forces, customs, and the judiciary.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to DNC records, narcotics seizures dropped slightly in 1993, and law enforcement officials detected no major trafficking schemes. Most seizures were of relatively small quantities of low-quality "brown sugar" heroin and locally cultivated cannabis. The trial of those arrested in a large seizure of heroin in 1992 was concluded in 1993, and resulted in a life sentence for an American citizen. A Nigerian codefendant received the same sentence, while three others were acquitted. Beyond this one important case, the BDG has been slow to prosecute those arrested on narcotics charges, due largely to an overburdened judicial system. In October, the BDG reported a backlog of over 4,000 narcotics cases. The BDG has uncovered no evidence of money laundering. Provisions for court-ordered examination of financial records or confiscation of assets have been largely ineffective due to detailed burden-of-proof requirements which discourage poorly trained law enforcement officials from pursuing that avenue in investigations.
Corruption. Possible official corruption appears to be limited to border areas and related to the smuggling of "brown sugar" heroin.
Treaties and Agreements. Bangladesh has signed and ratified the 1988 UN Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics, and the 1990 SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Bangladesh has signed protocols calling for increased bilateral narcotics cooperation, and has worked toward better coordination and enhancement of counternarcotics capabilities within SAARC.
Demand Reduction. The BDG has taken some initial steps to promote drug awareness, and places a higher priority on demand reduction. Efforts have included antidrug campaigns involving public meetings, the production of television and radio announcements against drugs, and the publication of books and pamphlets on the dangers of drug abuse.
The UNDCP plan for Bangladesh, approved by the BDG in 1993 and scheduled for implementation in 1994, will focus on demand reduction, treatment, and the development of a long-term strategy for narcotics control efforts. The DNC believes that the UNDCP project, along with increased bilateral assistance, will enhance its narcotics control capabilities. In late 1993, in preparation for this plan, the BDG took legislative action to reconstitute its national Narcotics Control Board, a high-level inter-ministerial council designed to set narcotics control policy and enhance coordination within the government.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG's primary antidrug interest in Bangladesh is to help prevent the country from becoming a major transshipment point for Burmese or other Southeast Asian heroin. The USG seeks to increase awareness of the threat of narcotics within Bangladesh, and to strengthen BDG agencies responsible for counternarcotics support, and for detection and interdiction in Bangladesh. To fulfill these goals the USG provides training and equipment support to the DNC.
In 1993, the USG sent five BDG officials to Sri Lanka for a two-week DEA training course, and one BDG Customs official to the US for similar training. The USG also delivered $20,000 worth of administrative and telecommunications equipment for narcotics control to the DNC, and is planning to provide an additional $67,000 of equipment in 1994. This assistance will complement the UNDCP master plan for Bangladesh when it comes on stream in 1994. In addition, DEA, through its regional office in New Delhi, provides advice and operational support to the DNC. The US Information Service also sponsors drug abuse awareness seminars and administers some training programs in the United States.
India is a transit route for heroin and other illegal opium derivatives from producing countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia. It also faces the challenges of diversion of legally-produced opium, illegal poppy cultivation, the unauthorized export of essential and precursor chemicals, and of methaqualone. The Government of India (GOI) cooperates with the USG on trafficking cases, and in 1993 significantly increased its efforts to curtail cultivation diversion. The GOI also expanded controls on acetic anhydride (AA), used to process opium into heroin. While India recently initiated narcotics control discussions with Pakistan and Burma, it could do more in the area of international cooperation. The GOI has raised the priority of drug control programs, but needs to take stronger measures to control drug transit and to prevent the diversion of opium production. India is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and is making progress in meeting its goals and objectives.
II. Status of Country
India historically has been a transit route for illicit narcotics from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Burma bound mainly for the European market. India is the world's largest producer of opium for pharmaceutical purposes, and the only country to market opium gum instead of concentrated poppy straw (CPS). Criminal organizations produce heroin both from diverted and illegally grown opium. Most heroin produced is probably consumed domestically, although some diverted opium gum reportedly is processed for export.
Opium is diverted in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, where poppy cultivation is authorized. Poppies are grown illicitly in the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh, and in northeast India near the Bangladeshi and Burmese borders. India produces AA for legitimate consumers such as the textile industry, but some is diverted to heroin labs throughout Southern Asia. Heroin base remains the domestic drug of choice, except in the northeast state of Manipur, where increased intravenous use of No. 4 heroin from Burma has spread the AIDS virus. Indian heroin base is readily available in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), responsible respectively for coordinating licit and illicit drug control policies, enjoyed increased political support. The GOI created a new senior position of Special Secretary for Narcotics to oversee both the NCB and CBN, and raised counternarcotics policy to the highest levels of the government. An Interagency Coordinating Group, chaired by the Director General of the NCB, was created and will meet quarterly.
Accomplishments. The GOI took a number of steps to discourage the diversion of opium:
-- For the second consecutive year, it raised the minimum yield farmers must offer to sell to the government in order to retain a license. It required producers in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to sell 40 kgs per hectare (up from 38 kgs in 1992), and those in Uttar Pradesh 38 kgs (up from 36 kgs).
-- Each licensed farmer is authorized to cultivate 0.1 hectare. The margin of error was reduced from 20 percent to 10 percent in 1992, and to five percent in 1993.
-- Beginning in 1993, farmers who deliver more than 50 kgs/hectare are rewarded with an additional .05 hectares to cultivate in the following crop season. More than 10,100 farmers received this bonus for the 1993-94 crop.
-- The GOI raised the price it pays farmers for authorized crop sales.
-- Local CBN officials now measure all plots to ensure they do not exceed 0.1 hectares; the measurements are spot-checked by senior officials.
-- Record keeping and licensing of production were computerized.
-- The GOI now pays farmers by checks deposited to individual local bank accounts; the previous practice of cash payments had opened the possibility of kickbacks to CBN officials.
-- The GOI revised opium storage procedures, which will improve security inventory accounting.
The GOI also took a number of significant international initiatives:
-- It conducted its first bilateral narcotics consultations with Burma, agreeing to exchange information between enforcement agencies along the border several times a year, and to review developments at the national level annually.
-- India and Pakistan resumed their narcotics dialogue, which had been suspended for several years. While they agreed to designate a single agency to coordinate intelligence-sharing across their border, political tensions will slow improvements in cooperation.
-- India signed a bilateral narcotics agreement with Zambia to address the flow of methaqualone to Zambia and other African destinations.
-- India is also party to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Narcotics Convention, which went into effect in October.
In 1993, the GOI strengthened its efforts to curb unauthorized poppy cultivation. It uprooted more than six times the poppy cultivation that it eradicated in 1992, although the total hectarage for both years was very modest. We continue to receive reports of diversion and illicit production, however, indicating that the authorities need to tighten controls further.
The GOI has become more concerned with curtailing the illicit opium trade. Seizures of 1,946 kgs in the first nine months of 1993 slightly exceeded the 1,191 kgs seized in all of 1992. Heroin seizures of 874 kgs during the same period remained at about the same pace as in 1992, when a total of 1,153 kgs were seized during the year. Indian law enforcement agencies made 9,091 narcotics arrests in the first nine months of 1993, at approximately the same rate as the 12,580 detained in all of 1992.
Law Enforcement Efforts. While the CBN's staff of some 1,200 has declined from a high of about 1,400, the decline in the number of authorized poppy growers (from over 250,000 a decade ago to about 130,000 in the 1993-94 crop year) has actually increased the ratio of officers to growers. The CBN stationed a cadre of "preventive and intelligence" officers, in addition to the cultivation personnel, in opium production areas. It also replaced officers' outdated sidearms with carbines. The GOI extended the regulations controlling sale and possession of AA to the entire country; they had applied only to the Pakistan and Burma border areas when introduced in 1991. AA smuggling probably continues along both frontiers, but there have been no seizures along the Indo-Burmese border since 1991. In the first nine months of 1993, the GOI seized 16,226 liters of AA.
Competing and occasionally overlapping jurisdictions of law enforcement and other governmental agencies continue to hinder effective action against traffickers, and illegal producers. An interagency group in New Delhi is beginning to address the problem, focusing particularly on cooperation between local police (responsible to the Home Ministry) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (responsible to the Finance Ministry). A seminal problem is the delay in criminal cases permitted by the court system.
The USG believes that India's considerable efforts to control illegal cultivation, production, and trafficking as well as other activities covered by the 1988 UN Convention, in 1993, indicate that the GOI is making progress in meeting the goals and objectives of the Convention.
Corruption. The media reports allegations of corruption among police, government officials, and local politicians, but prosecutions are rare. The USG also receives reports of corruption within the various GOI agencies responsible for drug enforcement, but cannot independently verify the extent of corruption in the Indian Government. The GOI regularly shifts CBN field officers between growing areas to discourage ties to traffickers and farmers who divert, and to limit the possibility of corruption. The USG is not aware that any senior official encourages or facilitates trafficking or money laundering.
Agreements and Treaties. The US-UK Extradition Treaty of 1931 governs the extradition of fugitives between the US and India, and both governments have engaged in consultation regarding its implementation. Neither government has made a drug-related extradition request.
Cultivation and Production. India is the world's largest producer of opium for legitimate pharmaceutical use. Unlike other narcotic raw material suppliers, India produces only opium gum. The GOI has completed a preliminary feasibility study on converting some production to the CPS method. The report has not been released, but the lack of alternative employment and poor infrastructure in the growing areas appear to be major constraints to any change in traditional production methods. Total production of opium gum in 1993 was 333 metric tons, down from 495 metric tons the previous year. The reduction in output was largely due to widespread drought in the growing areas. Some farmers illegally withhold part of their crop, in quantities ranging from a few grams to several kgs, for black market sales at up to several hundred times the government price. There are no reliable figures on the extent of this diversion, and estimates vary widely. The GOI has reduced the area under licit poppy cultivation by about 80 percent in the past 25 years, from 66,000 hectares in 1978 to just over 13,000 hectares in 1993.
The government withdraws licenses from farmers who do not sell the minimum required yield. About 5,000 farmers lost licenses in 1993, reducing the number of authorized growers to about 130,000. While minimum-yield levels were raised more than five percent in 1993, the GOI will conduct extensive agricultural tests on the 1993-94 crop (to be harvested in March 1994) to determine maximum possible yields in the opium-growing areas. This study will set base lines for future increases in the amounts farmers are required to offer the government.
The Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance is responsible for controlling the cultivation of opium, the operation of opium factories in Neemuch and Ghazipur, the prevention of diversion, and counternarcotics enforcement at the national level.
Security at both opium-processing factories, which also stockpile opium prior to sale, is generally good. The stockpile has been reduced from 2,057 metric tons in 1990 to 410 metric tons at the end of 1993. However, this "physical stock" differed from the 800 metric tons shown in accounting records. Officials lay the discrepancy to antiquated storage methods which make it impossible to weigh inventory on hand. They also estimate two to three percent of stocks are lost to evaporation each year. All stocks will be transferred to sealable plastic bins in 1994, making possible the first systematic inventory since 1980, and the first accurate inventory ever.
Drug Flow/Transit. India has long been a major transshipment point for heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from the Burma/Laos/Thailand region. NCB statistics show that 94 percent of the heroin seized in the first nine months of 1993 originated in Southwest Asia (as compared to 80 percent in 1992), but that total seizures of heroin declined by 86 percent from 1992 levels. The export of methaqualone, principally to Africa, has also become a serious problem. During the first 10 months of 1993, the GOI seized 7.4 metric tons of methaqualone, compared to 7.5 metric tons in all of 1992.
Demand Reduction Programs. The GOI has no accurate data on the extent of opium and heroin addiction. Government officials estimate that there are from one to five million opium users, and about one million heroin addicts. The GOI is concerned about growing heroin addiction among the middle class and urban workers. The Health and Welfare Ministries, the UNDCP, and police groups support treatment and rehabilitation centers. Voluntary agencies conduct demand reduction and public awareness programs, but lack adequate funding and staff. In 1993, the USG funded a series of demand-reduction training seminars in major Indian cities.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG works with the GOI to focus more high-level attention on, and resource allocations for narcotics control programs. The USG has urged the GOI to update its domestic antidrug laws to comply with the obligations of the 1988 UN Convention, particularly those related to asset forfeiture.
Bilateral Cooperation. The USG funds training for enforcement personnel and for the Indian Coast Guard. Relations between the DEA and NCB are good, with emphasis on exchanges of narcotics information and cooperation on controlled deliveries from India to other countries. Pursuant to the US-India Narcotics Agreement of 1990, India and the US signed letters of agreement in 1992 and 1993 to improve India's interdiction capabilities and to tighten security at its opium production facilities. India is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention.
The Road Ahead. Effective drug control will require the GOI to continue to increase political support for counternarcotics efforts, and to institutionalize enforcement practices, and bring about speedier convictions of traffickers. The effectiveness of an agency too often depends on the energies of a single committed leader. The GOI has changed its view of narcotics control markedly in the past few years and now actively promotes antidrug cooperation with the US and other countries.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Iran is a major transshipment point for illegal opiates from Pakistan and Afghanistan, destined principally for Europe but also for the United States. The USG estimates that 1993 opium poppy cultivation was essentially at the same level as in 1992, about 3,500 hectares. The Government of Iran (GOI) asserts it has made progress in combatting illegal narcotics. The break in diplomatic relations with the US in 1979 makes these claims difficult to verify. The USG also does not have sufficient information to indicate whether Iran is meeting the objectives of the 1988 UN Convention, which the GOI ratified in 1992.
II. Status of Country
Iran remains a traditional opium-producing and consuming country, and a major conduit for large quantities of illicit opiates produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are sent for processing into heroin in Turkey, and onward for shipment to Europe and the United States. Processed heroin and morphine base is also transshipped through Iran. Although the GOI claims that opium poppy cultivation has been eliminated, USG surveys in 1992 and 1993 showed that it continues. The GOI denies that heroin labs operate in the country, but there are continuing reports that morphine base and heroin are produced in northwestern and southeastern Iran.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The USG is unaware of any new counternarcotics policy initiatives by the GOI in 1993. A comprehensive drug law was adopted in 1989, the same year the Anti-Narcotics Headquarters, comprised of representatives from several ministries and the general prosecutor, was established. The Islamic Revolutionary Corps, responsible to the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for law enforcement in all drug-related crimes and for the protection of Iran's borders from drug smuggling.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Iranian press reports, which the USG cannot independently verify, report that drug addicts and traffickers, who face the death penalty for possession of more than 5 kgs of opium or 30 grams of heroin, are sentenced quickly in revolutionary courts. Iranian officials, according to Iranian media, have arrested 53,000 drug smugglers and confiscated more than 65 metric tons of drugs since March 1993. The USG continues to believe, however, that those arrested on drug offenses may also be political prisoners who oppose the government. This is reaffirmed by reports from exiles and human rights monitoring groups, which indicate many of those executed for alleged criminal offenses, including drug trafficking, are in fact political dissidents. According to unconfirmed Iranian press reports, Iran and Turkey, concerned about cross border actions by separatist Kurds, agreed in October to strengthen border security ties.
Corruption. The USG continues to receive reports that drug-related corruption is a serious problem among GOI law enforcement and security personnel. The bribing of guards posted on the border with Afghanistan reportedly continues, and arrested traffickers are set free in exchange for payment. However, detailed information on the extent of official corruption in Iran is not available to the USG.
Agreements and Treaties. In January 1994, Iran signed a regional counternarcotics agreement with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iran is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, but not to its 1972 Protocol. It ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention on December 7, 1992. Iran also has concluded drug cooperation agreements with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and several other Central Asian States, Persian Gulf countries, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Nigeria and Thailand. The US has no bilateral narcotics agreement with Iran.
Cultivation and Production. The USG estimates that opium poppy cultivation in 1993 was approximately the same as in the previous year, about 3,500 hectares, with a potential opium yield of between 35 and 70 metric tons. According to the DEA, opiates are stored, and some processed into morphine base or heroin, by Baluchi tribesmen in the southeast and by Kurds and Azerbaijanis in the northwest.
Drug Flow/Transit. There are continuing indications that opiates seized in Turkey and Europe have transited Iran. The technique still used by traffickers is to move drugs by trucks, loaded in Mirjaveh near the Pakistani border, to the Turkish border for further shipment. The USG also believes that Iranians based in Istanbul are well-established as international heroin brokers. According to DEA, they use their links to Iran to acquire opiates and refined heroin, and work closely with Turkish traffickers to supply distributors in European and US cities.
Reduction Programs. According to 1993 Iranian press reports, Iranian officials believe there are more than two million opiate addicts in Iran. This figure is a dramatic increase from 1991, when the GOI told visiting UN officials that the country had some 200,000 heroin and 400,000 opium addicts. The USG has very limited details on the drug abuse situation in Iran.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG has no diplomatic relations with Iran and has taken no narcotics control initiatives with the country. The USG continues to encourage counternarcotics cooperation among countries of the region, as well as antidrug programs in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, under UN auspices.
Nepal's open border with India and its proximity to Pakistan and Burma make it an attractive alternate transit route for illicit narcotics from the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle regions to Europe, other points in Asia, and the US, as well as an escape route for drug traffickers. USG evaluations of the arrest of Nepalese and other foreign traffickers and couriers reveal that heroin is funneled into Nepal from India, from Pakistan through India, from Burma, Thailand, and Hong Kong, and onward to Europe and the United States. There is no evidence of any significant Nepalese production of opiates.
The Government of Nepal (GON) has upheld its commitment to narcotics control by forming a Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) and signing a Narcotics Master Plan Agreement with the UNDCP. Heroin seizures in 1992 surpassed the combined total of the previous three years and seizures in the first eight months of 1993 were at about the same rate. Cooperation with the US and other countries on enforcement, training, and legal assistance increased during the past year. Recent ratification of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Narcotic Drugs should enhance regional cooperation. Nepal is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
Counternarcotics operations since the DLEU was formed show that heroin from South, Southwest, and Southeast Asia flows into Nepal, both across the porous Indian border and through Kathmandu's international airport.
The major domestic narcotics problem is the abuse of No. 3 heroin or "brown sugar," which is smoked or injected by urban youth. Of some 25,000 drug users in the country, perhaps five to eight thousand are hard core addicts. Smugglers, often addicts themselves, typically take No. 3 heroin into Nepal in small, 5-10 gram quantities across the Indo-Nepalese land border. Such "freelance" trade is independent of major international trafficking. GON crop eradication, which peaked in 1992, declined noticeably in 1993.
Policy Initiatives. Nepal is not a significant producer of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances. Cannabis cultivated for local consumption sometimes reaches international markets in the form of hashish. The GON has increased cannabis eradication as part of its narcotics control initiative. There has been some ad hoc cooperation with India in this effort. The Narcotics Master Plan Agreement signed with the UNDCP in 1992 includes a demand reduction component scheduled for implementation in 1994.
Accomplishments. The signing of the Master Plan and establishment of the DLEU mark fundamental advances in fulfilling the objectives of the 1988 UN Convention. The GON has also increased its international law enforcement cooperation with many countries, including the United States. Greater Nepalese participation in SAARC and other South Asia regional drug control activities, offers further opportunities for international cooperation.
Nepal has amended its Narcotic Drug Control Act to bring it into conformity with the 1988 UN Convention, as part of the country's efforts to comply with the SAARC Anti-Narcotics Convention. In addition, other conforming legislation is required, for example, for money laundering. The SAARC Convention also provides for regional information sharing and extradition for drug-related offenses, even in the absence of a formal extradition treaty.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The consolidation of the DLEU has increased the GON's capability to counter drug trafficking. Although the absence, until 1993, of a local UN representative slowed the arrival of UNDCP resources, the US and Germany have provided assistance to the new unit, enabling it to pursue its mandate aggressively.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GON does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug money. To the USG's knowledge, no senior official is engaged in the production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of drug proceeds.
Agreements and Treaties. The USG and the GON signed a letter of agreement in September providing $25,000 in assistance for equipment and training for the DLEU. There is no bilateral extradition treaty.
Drug Flow/Transit. Information on heroin transit through Nepal will remain largely anecdotal until the DLEU organizes its intelligence wing. There are strong indications that substantial quantities of South and Southeast Asian white heroin transit Nepal to Europe and the US, coming both overland across the Indian border and through Kathmandu's international airport from cities in the region. Nepalese and international drug enforcement officials believe that a previously lax law enforcement environment and good air links make Nepal an ideal alternative to more heavily used heroin trafficking routes.
Domestic Programs. The GON and non-government organizations (NGOs) heighten public awareness of the dangers of narcotics abuse. The GON's antinarcotics strategy, led by the Ministry of Health, is to expand government support to NGO-sponsored drug abuse prevention activities. The Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Nepal (DAPAN) published a "Survey of the Lifestyles of Higher Secondary and University Students Regarding Drug Abuse and Related Issues" in late 1992. The GON distributed this USG-funded study in Kathmandu and other cities to stimulate public awareness of the tragedy of drug abuse. A second contributor to the survey report, Youth Vision, began a five-city, school-based drug awareness campaign covering three of the five regions of Nepal in 1992. This project, the first of its kind in Nepal, continued into 1993. NGOs conduct media campaigns and serve rehabilitation needs throughout Nepal. Antidrug abuse advertisements and editorials are regular features of local English language and vernacular papers.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG encourages GON policies against illicit narcotics. Its support includes work with members of the cabinet, parliament, and the police on the UNDCP Master Plan and amendment of the Narcotics Control Act, coordination with other donor nations on assistance, including through the recently formed Mini-Dublin Group in Nepal, narcotics training, and US Information Service programs.
Bilateral Cooperation. The US does not have a bilateral narcotics agreement with Nepal, although cooperation has continued to broaden over the past year. The DEA has supported the DLEU operations and carried out narcotics interdiction training. The USG consults regularly with the GON on general and specific drug control topics.
The 1993 INM program included provision of mobile communications equipment to the DLEU, funding for additional training and equipment for the unit, grants to two NGOs for demand reduction and drug rehabilitation activities, hosting the Regional Advanced Narcotics Seminar in Sri Lanka, and funding a well-attended and publicized airport interdiction seminar in Nepal.
Road Ahead. Future initiatives include increased DEA collaboration with the DLEU, regular USG consultations with the GON on revision of the Narcotics Control Act, possible negotiation of a non-binding MLAT, provision of training and equipment, and continued involvement in the Mini-Dublin Group to ensure that the UNDCP program is effectively carried out.
[Chart: Statistical Tables]
Partly as a result of political turmoil, in 1993 the Government of Pakistan (GOP) took few narcotics control policy or legislative initiatives, although Prime Minister Quershi was able to complete some significant initiatives. GOP cooperation with USG agencies on investigations, enforcement operations, and extraditions continued to be good. Although it initiated a number of narcotics cases, only one was against a major trafficker. The GOP extradited six fugitives to the US and opened extradition proceedings against seven others. GOP enforcement efforts reduced harvestable opium poppy acreage by nearly 25 percent. The caretaker government of Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi, which held office from July to mid-October, prevented the election of reputed narcotics traffickers to federal legislative seats, revived narcotics talks with India, and promulgated key, although temporary, narcotics ordinances. The GOP claims to have eliminated 13 heroin laboratories during 1993 in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), but these closures were negotiated rather than imposed by government authorities reluctant to provoke unrest in the region. There is no evidence that they deterred the operators from opening new labs. Pakistan is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
I. Status of Country
Pakistan is an important producer and transit country for opiates and hashish destined for international drug markets. Laboratories in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas process opium grown locally, and imported from neighboring Afghanistan. The USG believes that approximately 20 percent of the heroin consumed in the US originates in Southwest Asia; much of the morphine base used to produce this heroin is refined in NWFP tribal areas. Heroin and hashish processing continues virtually unhampered in the politically autonomous tribal areas of the NWFP, where the GOP exerts little control and has yet to apply national drug control laws. The tribal areas remain de facto sanctuaries for heroin and hashish manufacturers.
According to DEA, drug money is laundered in Pakistan, but it is not a criminal offense. Although details about money laundering activities in Pakistan are largely anecdotal, 1991 changes in the GOP's foreign exchange regime left the banking system open to exploitation. Elements of Pakistan's economic reform program, designed to draw foreign exchange into the banking system and encourage the repatriation of foreign exchange held abroad, have produced a substantial increase in the foreign exchange assets of Pakistani banks. Bank secrecy, however, makes it difficult to determine how much of this new money may be drug-related. GOP officials recognize that the new regulations may facilitate money laundering, and are examining ways to correct the situation. The extensive informal financial sector, however, stands ready to provide a ready extra-legal alternative, should strong financial disclosure and control measures be implemented.
International experts estimate that Pakistani addicts consume about two-thirds of the heroin produced in the tribal areas. The growth of the Pakistani heroin addict population mirrors the explosive growth of the local heroin manufacturing industry in the past 15 years. There were virtually no heroin manufacturers or heroin addicts in Pakistan in 1979; GOP and international experts estimated that Pakistan had a heroin addict population of 1.2 to 1.7 million in 1988.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The political uncertainty in Pakistan during most of 1993 impeded policy initiatives in all areas, including narcotics control. There was no progress in passing the draft Five-year Plan for 1993-98, which includes a section on narcotics. Comprehensive legislation which would bring Pakistan into conformity with the 1988 UN Convention is stalled. During its July-October tenure, the caretaker government of Prime Minister Qureshi promulgated two ordinances, lowering the minimum sentence to trigger forfeiture of drug assets from life to two years, and permitting the operation of the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF). The caretaker government sought to reinvigorate the ANTF by appointing a senior army officer to its command. The current government, elected in mid-October, has affirmed its commitment to narcotics control , and has declared its intent to enact legislation on drug asset seizure and the status of the tribal areas. By year's end, however, the GOP had taken no action toward these objectives.
Accomplishments. The GOP's narcotics control efforts rarely receive priority when in competition for scarce resources. Large military expenditures, debt servicing requirements and budget deficits, coupled with stringent fiscal targets, severely limit the availability of the material, personnel and financial resources needed to implement a vigorous narcotics program. In 1993, the government initiated prosecution of a major trafficker, Rafi Munir, whom the Pakistan Narcotics Control Board (PNCB) had arrested in connection with a May, 1993, seizure of 12 metric tons of hashish. In November, the appeals court rejected Munir's application for bail, and he remains in custody. However, other major cases did not fare as well. The Sessions Court released reputed trafficker Bakht Munir in November when prosecution witnesses failed to appear to testify. The case of Sakhi Dost Jan Notezai, opened in 1991, has not yet reached final disposition; meanwhile, Notezai successfully ran for a seat in the Balochistan Assembly, despite being in jail.
Pakistan cooperates with the US and other foreign law enforcement agencies. In October and November the GOP extradited six of the 21 drug-related fugitives whose extradition was formally requested by the USG. Seven others are in custody pending completion of the appeals process; the remaining eight remain at large.
Law Enforcement Efforts. GOP narcotics enforcement agencies made little progress in prosecuting major traffickers and their organizations. They lack the initiative and resources necessary to follow up seizures with thorough case preparation. Bureaucratic rivalry and poor coordination hamper cooperation among the more than 10 agencies which share responsibility for narcotics law enforcement. These agencies focus heavily on drug seizures, which increased dramatically in 1993. Based on data through October, the USG estimates that seizures of heroin exceeded 1992 levels by 47 percent. Opium seizures are projected to increase by 43 percent.
Some law enforcement shortcomings may be attributable to political disruption, as Pakistan had five governments during 1993. For example, the leadership of the Ministry of Narcotics Control changed hands twice before being incorporated into the Ministry of Interior. Five different persons held the ranking civil servant position in the Narcotics Control Division, while the chairmanship of the PNCB changed four times. Political interference in the already weak system of administration of justice stalls prosecutions and undermines the commitment of investigators.
Corruption. Illicit drug money affects Pakistan's economy and leads to reported drug-related corruption at various levels of the government and the judiciary. The GOP does not vigorously enforce existing anti-corruption legislation. No senior GOP official has ever been indicted for narcotics-related corruption. All but the most senior law enforcement personnel are poorly paid, undereducated and susceptible to bribes from drug traffickers and others.
Thanks to determined efforts by the caretaker government, reputed drug traffickers were blocked from running for the National Assembly during the October elections. Nevertheless, two reputed traffickers ran successfully for provincial legislative seats in Balochistan and the NWFP. In addition, there were unconfirmed reports that drug traffickers had financed the campaigns of some successful candidates at both the provincial and the federal levels.
Agreements and Treaties. Pakistan is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Convention, which it ratified in 1991. The GOP has drafted, but not yet introduced legislation to bring Pakistani law into conformity with the 1988 UN Convention. The USG provides narcotics assistance to Pakistan under the terms of bilateral letters of agreement which are subject to annual renewal. Extradition between the US and Pakistan takes place under a 1931 US-UK treaty, extended to India in 1942, and whose terms Pakistan accepted at independence.
In July, following the 1992 arrest in the US of several Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees on charges of heroin smuggling, US Customs and PIA officials signed a Carrier Agreement to improve deterrence of narcotics smuggling on PIA aircraft. There are no pending negotiations on any other narcotics agreements.
Cultivation and Production. Nearly all opium poppy cultivation takes place in the tribal areas of the NWFP, bordering Afghanistan, on both irrigated and non-irrigated land. Cannabis grows wild throughout Pakistan, and is cultivated in Chitral and perhaps other areas. GOP efforts to enforce and expand the opium poppy ban during 1993 produced a significant decline in harvestable opium poppy during the crop year. USG agencies estimate that harvestable acreage was 6,280 hectares, with a potential to produce some 140 metric tons of opium, representing a decline of nearly 25 percent in harvestable acreage from 1992, and 20 percent in potential opium production. The remote tribal areas of the NWFP also contain an estimated 100 heroin labs, producing heroin from both Pakistani and Afghan opium. DEA estimates that production of equivalent pure heroin is approximately 70 metric tons per year, most of which is destined for consumption in Pakistan or in the immediate region. The GOP claims to have eliminated 13 heroin labs in the tribal areas during the year, through negotiation rather than enforcement. None of the lab operators was arrested, nor did the closures affect heroin production. These efforts are severely constrained by the GOP's fear of provoking unrest if national laws are vigorously applied in the tribal areas .
Drug Flow and Transit. Heroin, opium and hashish move from growing and processing areas in the NWFP to markets throughout Pakistan and to foreign countries. Traffickers convert most of the raw opium to heroin for consumption in Pakistan and abroad. They also ship morphine and heroin base to Turkey for conversion into heroin. Heroin moves from laboratories in the NWFP by road through Balochistan and Afghanistan to Iran and Europe; by road, rail and air to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, where it is routed by air and sea; sometimes via India, Africa or Turkey to the US and Europe. Another transshipment route takes Pakistani heroin through Afghanistan to markets in the newly independent Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, and to Europe. The PNCB reports that narcotics smugglers use recently opened air links between Pakistan, the CIS, and western China, to move narcotics.
Reduction Programs. Pakistani and international experts estimated in 1988 that there were 1.2 to 1.7 million heroin addicts in Pakistan, consuming an estimated 50 metric tons of heroin each year. While results of a new survey will not be available until 1994, anecdotal reports indicate that the addict population may have stabilized. There are numerous drug treatment centers in Pakistan, most of them private facilities operating for profit. Nearly all treatment centers, private or government, focus on detoxification and the management of withdrawal symptoms, but reportedly have a relapse rate of over 90 percent. The GOP channels its demand reduction efforts through the USG- and UNDCP-funded Integrated Drug Demand Reduction Project (IDDRP) and the Drug Abuse Prevention Resource Center (DAPRC). the DAPRC reduced its activities in August, when USAID funding ended. DAPRC has not yet found an alternate funding source to permit it to function at its previous level.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG would like to see the GOP:
-- Devote resources adequate to combat illicit narcotics cultivation, processing, and trade, and to develop a coordinated, long-term national counternarcotics strategy, including the exercise of federal enforcement in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
-- Arrest and prosecute heroin manufacturers, destroy their facilities, and confiscate their property.
-- Arrest and prosecute major traffickers, seize drug-related assets, and interdict heroin and opium traffic.
-- Pass comprehensive legislation bringing Pakistan into conformity with the 1988 UN Convention and strengthen asset forfeiture laws.
-- Arrest and extradite major traffickers to stand trial in the US, and undertake provisional arrest when necessary to prevent flight.
-- Improve controls to deter heroin smuggling at airports in Pakistan and on PIA flights. A combined interdiction and instructors course will be provided to Pakistani Customs to strengthen the interdiction process at Karachi.
-- Curb the smuggling of essential and precursor chemicals, and enforce diversion controls on their domestic production, import, transport and use.
-- Expand the enforcement area of the opium cultivation ban in the NWFP.
-- Develop and implement laws and bank regulations to prevent drug money laundering.
-- Curb corruption in GOP law enforcement agencies, and end the influence of drug traffickers on government policy and the judicial process.
-- Broaden and intensify public support in Pakistan for narcotics control initiatives.
Bilateral Cooperation. Anti-narcotics development assistance through USAID will cease under the prohibitions of the Pressler Amendment in September 1994. However, under annual letters of agreement, the USG provides other narcotics control assistance to the GOP under three broad categories: law enforcement, poppy ban expansion, and demand reduction. The USG reduced assistance for FY 1994 to $2.5 million, from $4.2 million the previous year. Given the institutional weaknesses of Pakistani law enforcement agencies, the USG has, in recent years, channeled its assistance to particular agencies (or their components) which demonstrate the ability and willingness to undertake effective narcotics control operations. The USG has provided units of the PNCB and Pakistan Customs with commodities (vehicles, communications, investigative and office equipment), provided training, and funded advocacy fees and certain operational costs for these agencies. The bulk of USG law enforcement assistance is now going to the ANTF, with the anticipation that this unit will target major traffickers. USG-supported road and infrastructure projects in the opium poppy growing area of the NWFP are designed to introduce and augment political and law enforcement access, to help expand the opium poppy ban, and to provide greater economic viability for substitute crops, and more comprehensive development activities by the GOP and others. Other demand reduction efforts within Pakistan seek to increase awareness of the domestic heroin addiction problem and encourage the growth of an antidrug constituency.
The Road Ahead. The USG will press the Pakistani Government bilaterally and multilaterally to raise the priority of its narcotics control activities. Provided the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) meets expectations, it will continue to receive the bulk of USG law enforcement assistance. The USG will maintain its long-term commitment to help open inaccessible areas of the NWFP to GOP law enforcement agencies, although available resources are declining, and will seek to persuade the GOP to move against heroin lab operators. The USG will work to strengthen GOP demand reduction activities, mainly through IDDRP.
[Chart: Statistical Tables; Pakistan: Estimated Opium Production 1987-1993]
The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) has ratified the 1988 UN Convention and is approving legislation to implement all aspects of it. Sri Lanka has a modest but growing drug problem, aggravated by the 10-year war with insurgents in the north and east of the country.
Cannabis is grown and consumed domestically. The GSL's greatest concern, however, is the increasing amount of heroin entering Sri Lanka, both for transshipment and for domestic consumption. In 1993 the GSL took several steps to curb the problem. With the assistance of the UNDCP, the government drafted an antinarcotics strategy to coordinate enforcement, demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation efforts. The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) has established an international drug information monitoring office, through which the narcotics enforcement agencies of the region share interdiction data.
II. Status of Country
Sri Lanka's appeal to traffickers is increasing, both as a consumer market and a transit route for heroin. The GSL's conflict with Tamil domestic insurgents drains resources which might otherwise be used in the fight against drugs.
Although an island nation, Sri Lanka has no coast guard, and its naval resources are engaged in combatting the insurgency. Sri Lanka's nearly 1,100 miles of virtually unpatrolled coastline make it particularly susceptible to smuggling activities. PNB officials suspect that most heroin now enters Sri Lanka by sea, and acknowledge that law enforcement authorities are comparatively ineffective in interdicting maritime narcotics traffic.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1993
Policy Initiatives. The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB), which coordinates drug-related policy with all relevant ministries, instructed the Excise Department to carry out an ambitious cannabis eradication campaign. This program concluded in November, and eradicated almost 48 metric tons of cannabis found at 64 nurseries in over 100 acres of jungle in the Moneragala district.
Accomplishments. The GSL drafted legislation to comply with all aspects of the 1988 UN Convention to be submitted to the parliament for final approval in early 1994.
In November, the Central Bank recommended to the Cabinet the abolition of secret bank accounts. If approved, legislation may be passed early in 1994. The GSL also proposed asset seizure amendments to existing narcotics legislation.
The USG provided computer equipment to develop the data base for the GSL's international drug monitoring office which shares interdiction information with other enforcement agencies in the region.
The GSL consolidated supervision of the PNB in the newly created position of Deputy Inspector General (DIG), reflecting the GSL's recognition of the importance of senior-level leadership to manage narcotics control efforts.
Many narcotics enforcement officers, including the new DIG, have benefited from USG-sponsored training. A DEA-trained government analyst eliminated a five-year backlog in narcotics cases that had slowed the judicial process. The GSL also received narcotics control assistance from the UNDCP, and from the governments of Canada, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The PNB, Customs, and the Excise Department are authorized to enforce Sri Lanka's drug laws. From January to November, the authorities arrested more than 13,000 persons for drug offenses, and seized a total of 15.89 metric tons of illicit narcotics, virtually all cannabis products.
Corruption. The Ministry of Justice Bribery Commission investigates all allegations of corruption of public officials. The GSL does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of drug money. We have no knowledge of any senior official engaged in the production, distribution of drugs or in money laundering.
Agreements and Treaties. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) narcotics convention includes drug trafficking as an extraditable offense, as does the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 1931 which applies to Sri Lanka; however, the extradition process is slow, in one case taking 18 months. In his October address to the UN General Assembly on International Narcotics Control Cooperation, the Legal Advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited the need for more such agreements.
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug cultivated in Sri Lanka. There is no complete data on the extent of production, but the government estimates that at least 3,000 hectares are cultivated in remote and inaccessible jungles of the southeastern Moneragala district.
Drug Flow/Transit. Heroin appears to be the only drug transiting Sri Lanka in significant quantities. Enforcement authorities estimate that some 58 percent of the heroin interdicted reaches Sri Lanka from India, and that approximately 40 percent of all heroin found in Sri Lanka is intended for transshipment. The total amount of heroin seized in 1993 exceeded the 1992 total by 13 percent.
Demand Reduction. The NDDCB instructed the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Information to carry out a multi-media information campaign to promote public awareness of the drug problem and to discourage drug use on radio and television programs. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training is to conduct drug awareness programs in the work place and devise a model drug awareness program. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education is producing television spots and a full-length television drama on drug abuse.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Goals and Objectives. The USG seeks to improve GSL effectiveness in applying its limited resources against the growing drug trafficking threat. USG assistance is designed to improve narcotics enforcement, including extradition and interdiction, and to expand the government's facilities for drug analysis, user treatment, and rehabilitation.
Bilateral Cooperation. The USG provided computer equipment to the PNB, and sponsored two training programs in Sri Lanka for law enforcement officers and one training program in the US for a Justice Ministry analyst. The USG also funded equipment for the forensic laboratory planned at the NDDCB, which will ultimately perform drug analysis for treatment and rehabilitation, as well as for criminal prosecution. A training course for instructors is scheduled for Sri Lanka Customs to institutionalize prior training efforts.
The Road Ahead. Given Sri Lanka's long and vulnerable coastline, and its proximity to heroin-producing countries, assistance programs in the future will focus on improving regional cooperation in enforcement and interdiction.
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