The 24th Meeting of Heads of Law Enforcement Agencies of the

Asia-Pacific Region (HONLEA), organized by the UNDCP and hosted by the Union of

Myanmar, was held from 14 to 17 November , 2000 at Hotel Equatorial in Yangon.

H.E Colonel Tin Hlaing, Chairman of the Central Committee for

Drug Abuse Control and Minister for Home Affairs, delivered the keynote address

at the opening ceremony.

As known by all, the menace of narcotic drugs has been

threatening the human society. The illicit trafficking of drugs has become the

major transnational crime. The crimes resulting from drug trafficking have not

only seriously undermined the economy, political and social fabrics, but also

the stability of community peace and tranquillity and national security of

country states.

In this connection, it is encouraging to learn the initiative

taken by all menber states concerned and the United Nations in drafting the UN

Convention against Transnational Crimes at Vienna, soon to be signed in

December, 2000 at Palermo, Italy. In reality, the fight against drug trafficking

could neither be waged by one country alone nor by leaving out one country. It

is imperative that all countries should stand together based on mutual

understanding, trust and cooperative spirit to form a strong and united front.

This is why the Myanmar hostes this HONLEA Meeting in Yangon.

This Meeting is clear testimony and indication of

participating countries of their political will and commitment to cooperate with

other countries in the fight against drugs in the region. However, it is

regretable to say that some responsible countries which have decided to boycott

the meeting for various reasons, do not harbour sincere intentions for

cooperation with other countries and at the same time, have blantantly ignored

an International Meeting organized by the UN. Myanmar has its doors wide open

and stand ready to show its efforts, achievement to the international community.

Myanmar has been showing her political will and commitment to

work together particularly with neighbouring countries in the region. Our Head

of State Senior General Than Shwe had briefed the ASEAN Summit on drug control

measures of Myanmar. Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, attending the Summit

was impressed and subsequently dispatched an expert team to draft plan to

eradicate poppy cultivation and production in the whole country. With the

guidance of our Head of State Senior General Than Shwe, border area development

projects were drawn up and a separate Ministry was established to implement the


The national races who have been engaged in poppy cultivation

realized the drug menace and threat to mankind and embraced the policy and

strategy laid down by the government. While there has been annual decreasing

figures in poppy cultivation and production, the problem of stimulants has

suddenly taken the stages. Mobilizing the full awareness and participation of

the public, every country should do their utmost to get rid of it. The drug

menace like a cancer is spreading and eating away the social fabrics of the

human society. Money laundered from procceds of drug trafficiking has destroyed

the economies of countries. HIV/AIDS epidemics are also offspring of drug abuse.

At the meeting practical issues and problems on law

enforcement in the region were discussed to find ways and means on better

cooperation between state governments and UNDCP. The implementation of the

decisions taken at the 22nd HONLEA was also reviewed.

It is hoped that participating countries including Myanmar

will benefit a lot from the discussions held for four days on national

experience and information sharing on illicit heroin trafficking and abuse

electronic crimes or cyber crimes affecting drug trafficking strategy, marine

drug trafficking and control of stimulants.

It is encouraging to see that delegates took part in discussions frankly and

cordially sharing experiences so as to find better ways and means for practical