Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

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

FOCUS

FOCUS

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

2014-07-30 crime

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

California has more inmates than any other US state - some 150,000 - and the reincarceration rate is the highest in the country, at 65%. Ordered by Supreme Court judges to reduce...

Read more

2014-07-29 Islam

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

As Muslims across the world celebrate the end of Ramadan, we look at the persecution suffered by Pakistan's Ahmadis. They consider themselves Muslim, but many Pakistanis see them...

Read more

2014-07-28 France

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

French supermarket giant Carrefour announced earlier this month it is giving up on one of the world’s biggest consumer markets by closing its operations in India. Carrefour wants...

Read more

2014-07-25 immigration

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

According to the UNHCR 2.5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since the conflict there began. Over 800 000 of them are now in Turkey. Ankara has maintained an...

Read more

2014-07-24 Ukraine

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

As early as the late 19th Century Crimea has lived off tourism. But the annexation of the peninsula by Russia, using military force, has already had an impact on the 2014 season....

Read more