Cambodia’s unjust detention centers

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cambodia-detention-centerIt doesn’t take much. Mankind under pressure is capable of many harsh actions. If you’re placed in the wrong environment for most of your life you may give into illicit means of comfort; drugs to alleviate your pain, trading your body for money to buy food, becoming a beggar, a child of the street – all of which raises your level of unlawful detainment by Cambodian police forces. A human rights organisation has called for the closure of these centers and the release of their detainees.

On December 9, the New York-based rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Cambodian rehabilitation centers are rampant with hundreds of prisoners facing torture, sexual violence and forced labour.

The HRW called for an immediate closure of the eight detention centers in Cambodia that are painted up as rehabilitation centers for those with drug dependency.

“Inside Cambodia’s drug detention centers, arbitrary detention, forced labour, and physical and sexual abuse are carried out with impunity,” said HRW health and human rights director Joseph Amon.

A report titled “They Treat Us Like Animals” noted that people confined in these institutions said they were being whipped with rubber water hoses, and struck with sticks or branches. During 2012, “some 2,200 people were confined in these centers” according to government statistics; the centers are run by various institution, including police and the ministry of social affairs.

“[A prisoner named] Buon, in his early 20s, fell out of step during a military-like march and was made to crawl along the ground as guards repeatedly hit him with a rubber water hose; Sokrom, a woman in her mid-40s, was beaten by [a] guard with a stick for asking to go to the toilet—she said her face was swollen for weeks afterwards; Asoch, in his early 30s, watched the director of one center thrash a fellow detainee with a branch from a coconut palm tree until it broke.”

According to the HRW, rapes and other sexual abuses from male guards were reported by former female prisoners. Others said they were forced to work with no pay on the institution’s construction sites.

“These centers are ineffective, unjust and violate human rights,” Amon said.

HRW reported that allegedly there were unaccompanied children as young as six all forced to live in the same rooms as adults, who were bound in chains, physically abused and forced to perform grueling physical labour.

“Children who use drugs or who live on the streets should be protected from harm, not locked up, beaten and abused.”

Health officials of the United Nations have asked questions about the treatment methods at the drug rehabilitation centers. In 2012, roughly 12 UN agencies called on countries with similar centres and asked them, without delay, to close them down and release the detainees.

So far, three drug rehabilitation centers have been closed down, according to HRW.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

It doesn’t take much. Mankind under pressure is capable of many harsh actions. If you’re placed in the wrong environment for most of your life you may give into illicit means of comfort; drugs to alleviate your pain, trading your body for money to buy food, becoming a beggar, a child of the street – all of which raises your level of unlawful detainment by Cambodian police forces. A human rights organisation has called for the closure of these centers and the release of their detainees.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

cambodia-detention-centerIt doesn’t take much. Mankind under pressure is capable of many harsh actions. If you’re placed in the wrong environment for most of your life you may give into illicit means of comfort; drugs to alleviate your pain, trading your body for money to buy food, becoming a beggar, a child of the street – all of which raises your level of unlawful detainment by Cambodian police forces. A human rights organisation has called for the closure of these centers and the release of their detainees.

On December 9, the New York-based rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Cambodian rehabilitation centers are rampant with hundreds of prisoners facing torture, sexual violence and forced labour.

The HRW called for an immediate closure of the eight detention centers in Cambodia that are painted up as rehabilitation centers for those with drug dependency.

“Inside Cambodia’s drug detention centers, arbitrary detention, forced labour, and physical and sexual abuse are carried out with impunity,” said HRW health and human rights director Joseph Amon.

A report titled “They Treat Us Like Animals” noted that people confined in these institutions said they were being whipped with rubber water hoses, and struck with sticks or branches. During 2012, “some 2,200 people were confined in these centers” according to government statistics; the centers are run by various institution, including police and the ministry of social affairs.

“[A prisoner named] Buon, in his early 20s, fell out of step during a military-like march and was made to crawl along the ground as guards repeatedly hit him with a rubber water hose; Sokrom, a woman in her mid-40s, was beaten by [a] guard with a stick for asking to go to the toilet—she said her face was swollen for weeks afterwards; Asoch, in his early 30s, watched the director of one center thrash a fellow detainee with a branch from a coconut palm tree until it broke.”

According to the HRW, rapes and other sexual abuses from male guards were reported by former female prisoners. Others said they were forced to work with no pay on the institution’s construction sites.

“These centers are ineffective, unjust and violate human rights,” Amon said.

HRW reported that allegedly there were unaccompanied children as young as six all forced to live in the same rooms as adults, who were bound in chains, physically abused and forced to perform grueling physical labour.

“Children who use drugs or who live on the streets should be protected from harm, not locked up, beaten and abused.”

Health officials of the United Nations have asked questions about the treatment methods at the drug rehabilitation centers. In 2012, roughly 12 UN agencies called on countries with similar centres and asked them, without delay, to close them down and release the detainees.

So far, three drug rehabilitation centers have been closed down, according to HRW.

 

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