October 11, 2011

IV. Recommendations

 

To the Lao Government

  • Instruct the Lao Commission on Drug Control to release current detainees in Somsanga, as their continued detention cannot be justified on legal or health grounds.
  • Instruct the Lao Commission on Drug Control to permanently close Somsanga.
  • Carry out prompt, independent, thorough investigations into allegations of arbitrary detention and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Somsanga.
  • Take appropriate remedial action for any violations identified, including prosecution for any criminal acts and providing a remedy for detainees and former detainees who sustained physical or mental harm while in detention.
  • Stop the arbitrary arrest of people who use drugs and other “undesirables” such as homeless people, beggars, street children, and people with mental disabilities.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries and departments to expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards.
  • Instruct the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries and departments to expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment for children, and ensure that such services are age-specific, medically appropriate, and include educational components.
  • Invite the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit Lao PDR within the next year and allow the Working Group members unhindered, confidential access to all drug detention centers and to detainees, while ensuring that there will be no reprisals against any detainee who meets with UN delegations.
  • Invite the special rapporteur on torture to visit Lao PDR within the next year and allow him unhindered, confidential access to all drug detention centers and to detainees, while ensuring that there will be no reprisals against any detainee who meets with him.
  • Invite the special rapporteur on the right to health to visit Lao PDR within the next year and allow him unhindered, confidential access to all drug detention centers and to detainees, while ensuring that there will be no reprisals against any detainee who meets with him.

To UNODC, Bilateral Donors, and International Organizations Providing Assistance to Somsanga

  • Publically call for:
    • The closure of Somsanga
    • An investigation into the allegations of human rights violations occurring inside Somsanga
    • Holding those responsible for any violations to account
    • Appropriate remedy for detainees and former detainees for any harm to their physical and mental health sustained while in detention.
  • Review any funding, programming, and activities that support the operation of Somsanga to ensure that no funding is being used to implement policies or programs that violate international human rights law, such as the prohibitions on arbitrary detention, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • For those donors funding capacity building projects on drug dependence treatment for drug detention center staff, cease such projects immediately.
  • Support the expansion of voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment, including appropriate services for women and children.
  • Direct support and capacity-building projects for drug dependence treatment to staff at the Ministry of Health and NGOs.

To United Nations Agencies

  • Publically call for:
    • The closure of Somsanga
    • An investigation into the allegations of human rights violations occurring inside Somsanga
    • Holding those responsible for any violations to account
    • Appropriate remedy for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health sustained while in detention
  • Actively encourage the Lao government to expand voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards.
  • Support and provide capacity-building projects for drug dependence treatment to staff of the Ministry of Health and NGOs.

To the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, and the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

  • Raise concerns with the Lao government regarding the allegations of arbitrary detention, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other abuses committed against people who use drugs (including children) by law enforcement officers and staff of Somsanga.
  • Request an invitation to visit Lao PDR to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against people who use drugs by law enforcement officers and staff of Somsanga.
  • Request further information from the Lao government in its periodic reports on the detention and treatment of people in drug detention centers in Lao PDR, including children.

To the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

  • Publically call for:
    • The closure of Somsanga
    • An investigation into the allegations of human rights violations occurring inside Somsanga
    • Holding those responsible for any violations to account
    • Appropriate remedy for detainees and former detainees for harm to their physical and mental health sustained while in detention
  • Request information from Lao PDR regarding the allegations of arbitrary detention and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and other abuses committed against people who use drugs (including children) by law enforcement officers and staff of Somsanga.
  • Prepare a study on the human rights abuses against people who use drugs in drug detention centers in ASEAN member states.