Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

France 24 meets George Weah ahead of inauguration

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gymnast's fierce courtroom address

Read more

THE DEBATE

A whole new world: Trump anniversary special

Read more

#TECH 24

Will artificial intelligence ever surpass the human brain?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Aiding migrants in France: What are the legal implications?

Read more

FOCUS

The challenge of clearing Colombia of landmines

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Gambians reflect on first year of democracy

Read more

FASHION

Pitti Uomo in Florence, the world's largest men's fashion showcase

Read more

ENCORE!

Award-winning Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza on keeping it real

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

2018-01-19 Americas

The challenge of clearing Colombia of landmines

One year after Colombia signed a historic peace deal with FARC rebels, a key challenge is to clear the soil of anti-personnel mines and other explosives. After Afghanistan,...

Read more

2018-01-18 Middle East

Rise of sandstorms plagues Middle East

Sandstorms have long been known to cause chaos in the Middle East - blocking out the sun in the middle of the day, or leaving passenger jets grounded on the airport tarmac. But...

Read more

2018-01-17 Asia-pacific

Why Hong Kong is Asia's electronic garbage dump

Asia is increasingly weighed down by electronic waste and it's in Hong Kong that the situation is the most alarming. The city produces nearly 200,000 tons of electronic waste...

Read more

2018-01-16 Europe

Strict controls behind Denmark's generous unemployment benefits

At just 4.2%, Denmark boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, and those looking for work receive up to 90% of their former salary. However, rigorous controls apply...

Read more

2018-01-15 Americas

Stolen medication sold on black market in Mexico

Mexico is dealing with a disturbing trend: mass robberies from pharmacies, hospitals and medical vehicles. The stolen medication is then sold on the black market, along with fake...

Read more