Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Democratic Convention: Can the Democrats now unite around Hillary Clinton?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Lady Liberty': The story behind the pictures

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The People Want Bernie' chanted at Democratic Convention

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Air France set for fresh strike action

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is France 'at war'?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Sudan: President Salva Kiir names new vice president

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Leaked emails overshadow Democratic convention

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Hot hits for the summer season

Read more

FOCUS

Canada: Religious sponsorship of refugees creates controversy

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

2016-07-25 Canada

Canada: Religious sponsorship of refugees creates controversy

Within just a few months, Canada has taken in 25,000 Syrian refugees. A private sponsorship system means that around 10,000 of them are sponsored by individuals and refugee...

Read more

2016-07-22 Pakistan

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

While the majority of medical students in Pakistan are women, the workforce is largely made up of men, leading to an overall shortage of doctors in the country. The reason is...

Read more

2016-07-21 World War I

Bomb disposal experts comb World War I battlefields, one century on

In recent months, ceremonies have been held to mark the centenary of major World War One battles at Verdun and the Somme in northern France. Hundreds of thousands of men were...

Read more

2016-07-20 Mozambique

Mozambique's reputation tarnished by hidden debt scandal

A massive hidden debt scandal has tarnished Mozambique’s reputation with the international business community. In April, the southeastern African nation acknowledged that it had...

Read more

2016-07-19 US Presidential Election 2016

US presidential election: Muslim voters determined to make their voices heard

After Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States, the country's Muslim minority has found itself in the spotlight. Muslims...

Read more