Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Multilateralist Macron is the anti-Trump at UN General Assembly

Read more

FOCUS

Rio mired in economic crisis a year after hosting Olympics

Read more

ENCORE!

Elizabeth Strout: 'There’s something emotionally truthful about my characters'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Polish foreign minister: Macron's comments on Poland 'were not necessary'

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

The controversial colonial statue in Senegal; and the centuries-old town in Turkey being destroyed by the govt

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era: Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'We aren't ready' for a second vote in Kenya and flip-flopping on climate change

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Another Hurricane? It's Maria's turn. And, when's your printer going to stop working?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo: New report says army worked with militias to massacre hundreds in Beni

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

2017-09-19 Americas

Rio mired in economic crisis a year after hosting Olympics

A state of "financial calamity" was declared in Rio de Janeiro just before it hosted the August 2016 Olympic Games. Salaries for public servants went unpaid and funding was...

Read more

2017-09-18 Asia-pacific

Rohingyas crowd into makeshift camps in Bangladesh after fleeing Burma

On the border between Burma and Bangladesh, the exodus of Rohingya people continues. In less than a month, more than 400,000 of them have crossed the border into neighbouring...

Read more

2017-09-15 Africa

Violent youth gangs spread terror in Abidjan

In Ivory Coast, violent youth gangs are spreading terror across the economic capital Abidjan. For several weeks now, these groups of delinquents - some as young as ten - have...

Read more

2017-09-14 Middle East

War in Yemen: Are Western weapons being used against civilians?

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of Arab states waging war in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi rebels, a pro-Iran Shiite militia which controls the...

Read more

2017-09-13 Europe

How migrants struggle to cross the Italy-France border

France has pledged to take in 30,000 migrants, currently in Greece or Italy, by the end of 2017. But so far, fewer than 2,000 are believed to have been relocated to France. At...

Read more