Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Where is the solidarity for Somalia?'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Liberia's presidential election: Results trickle in as observers give thumbs-up

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Weinsteins: Watershed moment in fight against sexual abuse?

Read more

FOCUS

A shield and a target: France's anti-terrorism operation 'Sentinelle'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc expose extent of sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Musical maestro Philippe Jordan on bringing passion to the Paris Opera

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Black day for democracy': Malta in mourning after top journalist is murdered

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Has the Weinstein scandal 'freed' women from their silence?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Europe’s newest face: Kurz’s election win indicates rightward shift for Austria

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

2017-10-17 France

A shield and a target: France's anti-terrorism operation 'Sentinelle'

"Sentinelle" is the name of an ongoing military operation on French soil: French soldiers patrol the streets, acting as a first line of defence and a shield for potential...

Read more

2017-10-16 Turkey

Turkey's brain drain: Turning their backs on limited freedom, declining economy

According to a report by Turkey's main opposition party, thousands of Turks chose to leave their country following last year's coup attempt on July 16. Most say they are worried...

Read more

2017-10-13 Europe

Sebastian Kurz on track to become Austria's next chancellor

He's been dubbed the "Austrian Emmanuel Macron". Sebastian Kurz is only 31 years old, but he's on track to become Austria's new leader when the country heads to the polls this...

Read more

2017-10-12 Europe

Carles Puigdemont: From journalist to Catalan independence leader

As Spain marks its national day, the Catalonia secession crisis hangs heavily over the kingdom. Our correspondents in Spain decided to take a closer look at the 54-year-old...

Read more

2017-10-11 Americas

Brazil's never-ending crisis: Will Temer be impeached next?

It's been over a year since Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, was impeached for manipulating the public accounts. Today, her successor Michel Temer finds himself...

Read more