Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cambodia announces plans for controversial new drug centre

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH (Dec 11, 2010): Cambodia's government has approved plans for a new drug rehabilitation centre, the country's biggest so far, national media reported Saturday, following criticism of similar facilities by Human Rights Watch and other activist groups.

Moek Dara, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, told the Cambodia Daily newspaper that the proposed centre would be located near the resort town of Sihanoukville and have a capacity of treating around 2,000 patients.

"The national rehabilitation centre would become the biggest ever in the country," he said.

In a report issued earlier this year, Human Rights Watch documented numerous instances in which inmates at Cambodian rehabilitation centres were beaten, tortured and locked up involuntarily.

The group has called for Cambodia to move towards a community-based, non-coercive treatment model, warning that the punitive approach taken in Vietnam and China is not effective.

Moek Dara said the new treatment centre would be non-coercive, but added that inmates would be held against their will if they "[refuse] to receive the voluntary treatment and [are] a danger to themselves or to society."

Vietnam is providing 2 million dollars in funding for the project, Moek Dara said.

Cambodia came under fire last year for forcing an untested Vietnamese herbal remedy on addicts in drug treatment centres. -dpa

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