Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Alpha Condé reacts to Dadis Camara's bid to return home

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'We need an American in every train compartment'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

When China Sneezes: World markets rattled by bubble burst (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Desperate to get to Europe: How to handle migrant surge? (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Behind the scenes of France's National Assembly

Read more

#TECH 24

Saving water, one shower at a time

Read more

FOCUS

Katrina, ten years on: Young survivors still grapple with trauma

Read more

ENCORE!

Has New Orleans got its groove back?

Read more

REPORTERS

Meet the French troops hunting jihadists in Sahel

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

2015-08-28 USA

Katrina, ten years on: Young survivors still grapple with trauma

In New Orleans, much of the city has been rebuilt ten years after Hurricane Katrina, and many residents have been able to return. But for some, the damage is invisible to the...

Read more

2015-08-27 India

Scandals tarnish reputation of India's pharmaceutical industry

The European Union has just suspended the sale of 700 Indian-made generic drugs. The decision came after Indian pharmaceutical research company GVK Bio was accused of allegedly...

Read more

2015-08-26 Israeli settlements

Ten years since Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip

Ten years ago, Israel withdrew its settlers from the Gaza Strip. Some left voluntarily, others had to be forcefully removed. A decade on, some of the former settlers still do not...

Read more

2015-08-25 France

Video: Building a community in Calais' 'Jungle'

We bring you a special report from the migrant camp dubbed the "Jungle" in the French port city of Calais, where an estimated 3,000 migrants live awaiting their chance to get to...

Read more

2015-08-24 Greece

Video: Euphoria short-lived for migrants arriving in Kos

The Greek island of Kos sees hundreds of migrants come ashore every day. They have made the crossing from Turkey on small inflatable boats, risking their lives in the process....

Read more