Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Mali's first case dies

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Queen Elizabeth tweets

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The world this week - October 24 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The world this week - October 24 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Art rocks and shocks Paris

Read more

#TECH 24

Samsung's Gear VR Reviewed

Read more

#TECH 24

How to become a Cyborg

Read more

ENCORE!

Paris rediscovers Picasso

Read more

#THE 51%

Should freezing your eggs be a company benefit?

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

2014-10-24 Ukraine

Ukraine's crippled elections

This Sunday, Ukraine is holding parliamentary elections, but some parts of the country won't be voting. The war between government forces and Russian-backed separatists continues...

Read more

2014-10-22 India

Indian uranium mines take heavy toll on locals and environment

India recently signed a nuclear power agreement with Australia and is entering tough negotiations with Japan on new power plants. The aim is to obtain a cheap source of fuel for...

Read more

2014-10-23 Tunisia

Tunisia: Religious education claims bigger role in curriculum

In Tunisia, final preparations are underway for Sunday's parliamentary elections. They are the second since the revolution almost four years ago, and the first since a new...

Read more

2014-10-21 London

London now the world's most expensive city

Soaring property prices and spiralling living costs are nothing new in London. But the British capital has now officially knocked Hong Kong off the top perch for being the most...

Read more

2014-10-20 Turkey

Video: Turkey ‘turns blind eye’ to border-crossing jihadists

It’s a scene Turkish activist Sehbal Senyurt has grown accustomed to witnessing.

Read more