The UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Feb. 28 that it is taking no view on the Thai government's plans to speed up the execution of convicted drug traffickers. The agency said it neither supports nor opposes the death penalty for drug-related offenses. "We are an impartial body and respect the rule of law and jurisdiction of countries," said INCB Thai board member Viroj Sumyai.
Police Gen. Adul Sangsingkeo, chief of Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board, says authorities are seeking to shorten appeal procedures in line with the government's drive to deter trafficking.
Gary Lewis, a representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional center for East Asia and the Pacific, cited the flood of methamphetamines as a major challenge for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "In every single ASEAN country, amphetamine is one of the top three problems, while there is also an alarming trend in opium and heroin use in Myanmar, Vietnam and China," Lewis said. But he praised the government of Burma (Myanmar) for cutting poppy cultivation by half. (Bangkok Post, Feb. 29)