December 9, 2013


To the Government of Cambodia [1]

  • Release all persons currently held in Cambodian drug detention centers, as their continued detention cannot be justified on legal or health grounds.
  • Permanently close Cambodia’s drug detention centers, as they hold people in violation of international law.
  • Immediately suspend all preparations to build a new “national” drug detention center.
  • Ensure a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and appropriate prosecutions of those responsible for serious abuses in connection with drug detention centers, including arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and forced labor.
  • Stop the arbitrary arrest and detention of people who use drugs and others deemed “undesirable,” such as homeless people, beggars, street children, sex workers, and people with actual or perceived disabilities.

To the Ministry of Health

  • Expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards.

To the Government of Vietnam

  • Provide no funding, programming, or activities directed to assisting Cambodia’s planned “national” drug detention center (or any other drug detention center) that will support policies or programs that violate international law, including the prohibition on forced labor.

To the Country Offices of United Nations Agencies and Cambodia’s Bilateral and Multilateral Donors

  • Publicly call for the immediate release of all persons held in Cambodian drug detention centers.
  • Publicly call for: an end to human rights violations that occur in Cambodian drug detention centers; credible and impartial investigations into allegations of abuses at these centers; and holding to account those responsible for violations.

To Foreign Embassies and United Nations Agencies in Phnom Penh

  • In advance of international meetings or visits by foreign dignitaries, publicly call on the Cambodian government to not undertake operations to “clean the streets” of drug users, homeless people, beggars, sex workers, street children, and people with actual or perceived disabilities.
  • Form a working group, comprised of senior staff of foreign embassies and UN agencies, tasked to coordinate joint advocacy to dissuade Cambodian authorities from operations to “clean the streets” in advance of international meetings or visits by foreign dignitaries, and to press for the immediate release of any persons arbitrarily detained as a result of such operations.

[1] Specifically, the National Authority for Combating Drugs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, and the Phnom Penh Municipality.