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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Water woes continue in Prey Sar

Water woes continue in Prey Sar

Prey Sar prison continues to lack basic access to water, with clean water carted into the facility increasingly being treated as a commodity, officials and rights groups said yesterday.

Khot Dara, director of the prison’s Correctional Centre 2, said the direct water supply had been cut off weeks ago.

“The water system was cut because of construction works on the road from Ang Metrey pagoda to Chomkar Dong,” Dara said. “We can use the water from the pond nearby so it is OK.”

But Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, said the shortage has upped the premium on clean drinking water.

“Basic rights such as food, water and recreation time are already heavily commodified in these prisons, and we have already received numerous reports of the trucked-in water being sold for profit by guards and inmates,” she said. “Licadho is particularly concerned for those poorer inmates who cannot buy additional water.”

While Pilorge described the shortage as an “emergency situation”, officials could offer no date for when the situation would be resolved.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said authorities would “try [their] best to solve this problem and not keep them without water for a long time”.

Kuy Bunsorn, director-general of the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prisons, said his officials were trying to “coordinate to solve the problem”, but added that little could be done before construction finished.

Pilorge called on authorities to “act without delay to restore the main water supply”.

“In the meantime, urgent safeguards must be put in place to ensure the distribution of existing water is fair. Some inmates, such as pregnant women and those with children, may need more water than others and this must be taken into account.”

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