Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Irish writer Rob Doyle blends philosophy and humour in 'This is the Ritual'

Read more

FOCUS

Morocco sees drop in tourist numbers

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Welcome aboard the West African Express

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Migrant crisis: Is Calais the dead end on the migrant trail?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there a future for French farming?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Merkel's Migrant Conundrum

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Japanese shares slump as global market sell-off continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Beyoncé's Black Power Message

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

2016-02-09 tourism

Morocco sees drop in tourist numbers

Unlike its neighbours, particularly Tunisia, Morocco has been spared terrorist attacks in recent years. The last one was five years ago. But tourist numbers are still down.

Read more

2016-02-08 Tunisia

Arab Spring's unfulfilled promises

In January, Tunisia saw a week of protests as people voiced their anger over unemployment and corruption. The country is often held up as an example of one which survived the...

Read more

2016-02-05 children

Transgender children: Embracing the transition process

A generation ago, only adults would go through the daunting, but often liberating, process of changing their gender. Today, a growing number of children and adolescents undergo...

Read more

2016-02-04 Syria

Syrian refugees forced into statelessness

In Lebanon one in five people is now a Syrian refugee. The country closed its borders over a year ago, and the government has become more restrictive in issuing residence...

Read more

2016-02-03 jihad

Belgium's Molenbeek seeks to restore tarnished image

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the working-class district of Molenbeek, in the suburbs of the Belgian capital Brussels, was blamed. As the days passed, the...

Read more