Human Rights Group Calls for Shut-Down of Cambodian Drug Treatment Centers
When entering a drug rehabilitation center, most would expect the only treatment to include that which focuses on the addiction. In Cambodia, it appears many drug detention centers were inflicting a different kind of treatment on its patrons.
According to a report in the Washington Post, an international human rights group put pressure on the Cambodian government to shut down its drug detection centers, claiming many of its patients were being tortured and raped. The centers were also said to lockup children and the mentally ill.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch published a 93-page report, providing detailed examples of detainees being beaten with electric wire, raped by drug center staff, shocked with electric batons and coerced into giving blood. More than 2,300 people were detained in Cambodia’s 11 drug detention centers in 2008, a 40 percent increase over 2007.
"The bottom line really is that these centers operate outside any judicial oversight and outside of any monitoring," said Joe Amon in the Post. Amon is the director of Human Rights Watch's health and human rights division in the Thai capital, Bangkok. "We're sending a message that these centers need to be shut down."
While Brig. Gen. Roth Srieng, commander of the military police in Banteay Meanchy province, denied torture was taking place, he did admit some detainees were forced to stand in the sun or “walk like monkeys” as punishment for trying to escape from the center.
The opportunity to comment on the issue and allegations have been declined by Cambodian officials from the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Interior Ministry, National Police and Social Welfare Ministry.