Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French presidential election: Over 40% remain undecided

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

ICC orders Congo warlord germain Katanga to pay victims

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trumpcare Falls Before First Hurdle

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Westminster Attack, Abadi in Washington (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Obamacare, Europe's Unholy Alliances, Martin McGuinness (part 2)

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Export bans hit Brazil amid tainted meat scandal

Read more

#TECH 24

Inside Netflix's war room

Read more

FOCUS

French Catholic voters remain faithful to scandal-hit Fillon

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Growing ambitions: The forces driving India's economy

Read more

FOCUS

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-03-04

The scandal of Cambodia's rehabilitation centres

A report by Human Rights Watch denounces the harsh methods used by Cambodian authorities against young drug addicts in rehabilitation centres which resemble prisons. FRANCE 24 correspondent Cyril Payen went to investigate and sent us this exclusive report.

At night, in the streets of Phnom Penh, you don't need to look far to find the down-and-out of Cambodian society. The country counts some 500,000 drug addicts.

The methods used by the government to ‘rehabilitate’ these drug users are at the centre of a report by Human Rights Watch published on Jan. 25, 2010. The NGO denounces the use of torture, rape and a whole array of physical abuses in some of these rehabilitation centres.

We went to meet these drug addicts and their stories are damning. All of this community of excluded people lives in fear of being sent back to a centre where they are treated like animals.

Instead of being weaned off their drug addictions, these street children picked up by the police suffer physical and sometimes sexual abuse, and are forced to work long hours without any pay.

As for the Cambodian authorities, they deny these accusations outright and point out that numerous international organisations finance the centres directly or indirectly, in a country where half the government’s budget depends on international aid.

One of the centres denounced by Human Rights Watch, situated on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, takes in children aged from four to eleven. All are street children addicted to sniffing glue and who arrive here after being arrested by the police. Ironically, this centre which is so well known to human rights organisations is financed by UNICEF, the UN agency for the protection of children.

Despite the publication of the HRW report and the accusations against UNICEF, the latter has reportedly not carried out any investigation, and no notable change has been observed in how the Cambodian rehabilitation centres are run.

By Cyril PAYEN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-03-24 French Presidential Elections 2017

French Catholic voters remain faithful to scandal-hit Fillon

French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon is a practicing Catholic. In a book which kicked off his presidential bid, he wrote an entire chapter about his faith....

Read more

2017-03-23 Asia-pacific

A day in the life of an Indian entrepreneur

India is the world's fastest-growing major economy. With an annual growth rate of 7%, an emerging middle class and a thriving startup scene, the country is on track to become a...

Read more

2017-03-22 Asia-pacific

Pakistan faces water crisis

To mark World Water Day we head to Pakistan. According to the UN, the country's water crisis is becoming the most pressing issue of our times. Pakistan is the fourth-largest...

Read more

2017-03-21 France

World Down Syndrome Day: The fight to raise awareness

Today's Focus marks the World Down Syndrome Day, an annual global event that helps raise awareness about the syndrome and what it means to lead a life with it. In France alone,...

Read more

2017-03-20 Middle East

Caught in the crossfire: The human cost of the battle for Mosul

It's been one month since the Iraqi government launched its operation to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State group. The government says more than 180,000 people have fled...

Read more