Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Closing arguments presented in the ICC trial of the Malian Jihadist who destroyed shrines

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Burkini: the never-ending controversy

Read more

THE DEBATE

Biden in Turkey: NATO allies at odds over Syria Kurds, exiled cleric (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Biden in Turkey: NATO allies at odds over Syria Kurds, exiled cleric (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: The European dream of Abidjan street footballers

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Star Trek Beyond, Toni Erdmann, Staying Vertical

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaziantep Massacre: Turkey's kurds targeted in deadly attack

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

US Secretary of State John Kerry commits to ramping up military assistance to Nigeria

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Sexism is over, according to most men'

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

2016-08-24 Ivory Coast

Video: The European dream of Abidjan street footballers

An Ivorian businessman who used to be a professional footballer in France is now trying to give young disadvantaged Ivorians the same opportunity. France 24 met Lucien Kouassi...

Read more

2016-08-23 Niger

In Niger the malnutrition of children is worsening

In Niger the combination of food insecurity, scarce water resources and lack of infrastructure are affecting children’s lives. The country holds the highest infant mortality in...

Read more

2016-08-22 Burma

Video: Can Burma overcome decades of bitter ethnic conflicts?

Today's Focus takes an in-depth look at one of Burma's many ethnic guerillas. The Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) is one of the armed groups invited to the 21st Century...

Read more

2016-07-29 nuclear power

Taiwan's nuclear dumping ground

Taiwan is on an earthquake faultline and exposed to typhoons. These environmental factors have parallels with Japan, so people are nervous of a repeat of the Fukushima nuclear...

Read more

2016-07-28 India

Indian women on frontline of battle against alcohol

Alcohol consumption in India claims a life every 96 minutes. As alcohol-related violence also continues to rise, women are at the forefront of a war against alcohol in the...

Read more