Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Happy Birthday, Mr President

Read more

THE DEBATE

The clean power plan: Obama, a climate leader?

Read more

THE DEBATE

US drone secrecy: Licence to kill?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Puerto Rico defaults: is it America's Greece?

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

India: the surrogate mother baby boom

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'How to detect nonsense about climate change'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Gabon President aide detained in Paris

Read more

THE DEBATE

Kerry Middle East Tour

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Leading human rights activist shot in Burundi's capital

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

2015-07-31 Brazil

Remote learning brings hope to Brazil’s rural poor

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's approval ratings have slumped as she battles corruption allegations and the worst economic downturn in 25 years, and now her popular...

Read more

2015-07-30 Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Secular bloggers live in fear after spate of killings

In Bangladesh, violence by radical Islamists is on the rise. In 2013, a group of fundamentalists published a list of 84 intellectuals and free thinkers to be "reduced to...

Read more

2015-07-29 Colombia

Colombian community takes on drug gangs

Buenaventura is Colombia's main port on the Pacific coast and local authorities and investors are eager to transform it into a touristic destination, but the town has fallen prey...

Read more

2015-07-28 Russia

Russia's private military firms operate in legal grey area

Kiev and the West have accused Russian troops of participating in the Ukraine conflict on a massive scale. The Kremlin denies sending professional troops into the country and...

Read more

2015-07-27 Niger

Cultural centre in ruins months after Charlie Hebdo riots

In mid-January, violence erupted in Niger's southern city of Zinder, sparked by the post-attack edition of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The front cover showed a weeping...

Read more