Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Meeting US inmates as Obama pushes for criminal justice reform

Read more

REPORTERS

From the archives: Caught in the crossfire in Colombia

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Harlan Coben on suspense, suburbia and success

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo: Inside Camp Garlic, a stronghold of ADF militia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Rousseff defends her track record

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

More debates on the economy, not on the burkini

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple set to face record tax penalty from EU

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Weiner strikes again

Read more

THE DEBATE

Colombia's Path to Peace: Can historic deal with FARC rebels work? (part 1)

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

2016-08-30 prisons

Video: Meeting US inmates as Obama pushes for criminal justice reform

With over two million people behind bars, the United States has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Barack Obama, the first US president to have visited a...

Read more

2016-08-29 Israel

The rise of political tourism in the Middle East

Every year, millions of tourists visit Israel and the West Bank to discover the historical and religious treasures of the region, the birthplace of Christianity, Islam and...

Read more

2016-08-26 Gabon

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

This Saturday, Gabon will be electing its next president in a one round vote. 11 candidates were initially in the running, among them incumbent president Ali Bongo Ondimba and...

Read more

2016-08-25 Germany

Chancellor Merkel's immigration policy faces test on her home turf

In Germany the final days of campaigning are winding down ahead of this weekend's elections in two of the country's federated States. Immigration and integration are key issues...

Read more

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