» 08/04/2012 CHINA - ASIA HRW: torture and denial of rights for drug addicts locked up in camps in Asia Hundreds of thousands of people in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos held without trial, and victims of torture and violence. In the name of a supposed "health care" they are subjected to forced labor and abuse. The structures built and maintained with money from donor countries and UN agencies.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hundreds
of thousands of people identified as drug users in China and across Southeast
Asia are held without due process in centers where they may be subjected to
torture, and physical and sexual violence in the name of "treatment". The charge
is contained in a 23-page Human Rights
Watch (HRW), recent report titled " Torture in the Name of Treatment:
Human Rights Abuses in Vietnam,
China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR." These
centers, added the expert organization based in New York (United States), have
received financial support and funds from donor countries and UN agencies, but the
centers systematically deny people rights to effective HIV and drug dependency
treatment, and have ignored forced labor and abuse.
The HRW document shows that more than 350 thousand persons, identified as
"habitual drugs users", have been locked up in facilities comparable
to real prisons, in the name of "treatment" to follow a medical
detox. The deprivation of liberty could last up to five years and even involved
ordinary homeless citizens, mentally ill and street children. In the camp the
"guests" are subjected to military-style exercises, chanting slogans
and working conditions comparable to slavery as part of an elusive "therapy".
Joe Amon, director of health and human rights at Human Rights Watch, stresses
that "beatings, forced labor and humiliation" are not part of the
therapy indicated for combating addiction. " These centers need to be
closed, and voluntary, effective drug treatment provided in their place." Beijing, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Vientiane
systematically violate the rights of patients, depriving people of personal
liberty. They are picked up by police, or "volunteered" by local authorities or
family members who buckle under social pressure to make their village "drug
free." And once inside, they cannot leave. No clinical evaluation of drug
dependency is performed, resulting in the detention of occasional drug users as
well as others merely suspected of using drugs.
Recent research has also shown that these camps have fostered the spread of
diseases like AIDS or the rapid growth in the number of HIV-positive. In
Vietnam, "occupational therapy" is an integral part of drug addiction
treatment and centers are nothing more than forced labor camps, in which tens
of thousands of people work for six days a week in the most menial and
laborious tasks . And punishment for any mistakes often lead to torture. A
practice that, in addition to Vietnam, is applied with equal harshness in
Cambodia, Laos and China, where convict labor is exploited for the production
of objects and artifacts.