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Asia: Videos on Drug Abuse and Detention Centers

By Juliana Rincón Parra

image from HCLU video

Drug abuse detention centers in Asia are in the spotlight. Although some Asian drug addicts go in voluntarily to kick their habit, in some places, this has led to routine human rights abuses where people off the street are locked up with no choice, tortured, raped, forced to work for free and denied basic comforts.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has released Abuse in the Name of Treatment,  a new video showing the situation of people sent into some compulsory drug detention centers in Asia. Some are sent there by family or walk themselves in to kick their drug habit, but in some other places, military police routinely round up anyone they consider “deviant”.  So street children, sex workers and drug users are sent to these camps with no right to appeal. Adding insult to injury,  some of these camps were built with money sent by Western governments, so the HCLU is calling viewers to action:

One of the centers – Koh Kor – was closed thanks to human rights advocacy but there are still too many in operation. HCLU, along with international organizations such as UNAIDS or UNODC, is calling for the closure of these camps. We hope after watching our new movie more people will join us and put pressure on these governments to stop the abuse in the name of drug treatment.

Current TV's Vanguard released web episodes discussing the subject of drug addictions, Meth production and consumption in Cambodia and visited Korsang, a harm reduction center created as an alternative to the abuses happening in government run drug detainment centers.

Also in Cambodia, students at the University of Puthisastra made a two part video for the UPSTV showing their perspective on why youth get involved with drugs in the first place:

At the end of the Second part, Kosal returns from his 5 year prison sentences a changed man, willing to right his wrongs and have a fresh start. Their perspective of how a drug addict is sent to a place where he or she can genuinely get better should become a reality, because it shouldn't take a miracle.

To read more about the human rights abuses happening in detention centers in Asia, you can read the Human Rights Watch reports on drug rehab centers on Where Darkness Knows no Limits and An Unbreakable Cycle in China and on Skin on the Wire in Cambodia .

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