Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Choam Chao needs independent investigation

Choam Chao needs independent investigation

Choam Chao needs independent investigation

Dear Editor,

Richard Bridle, the head of UNICEF’s Cambodia office, says that there is no “culture” of violence at the Chaom Chao Youth Rehabilitation Centre (“UN Denies Abuse of Drug Users”, March 22). What is his conclusion based upon? The fact that in a visit last week children at the centre joked with UNICEF staff and sought out conversation? That they were “engaging”?

I agree: The children we interviewed who had been detained at Chaom Chao were engaging. They were polite and readily joked with us. But they also told us – as they told your journalist – of being beaten, punished with electric shocks and whipped.

Neither UNICEF, the Ministry of Social Affairs nor the nongovernmental organization Mith Samlanh have conducted a credible, thorough or independent investigation, and no effective monitoring for ongoing abuse is in place.

UNICEF officials, six months after we first briefed them, have not spoken out or taken clear steps to investigate or protect the hundreds of children in other drug detention centres throughout the country.

It is unfortunate that since our report was released, UNICEF has spent more time making excuses for their support to the Ministry of Social Affairs than looking into what is actually going on.

UNICEF needs to do more than joke around with children at Choam Chao to determine if torture and abuse have, and are continuing, to take place. An independent investigation is needed.

Joe Amon
Health and Human Rights Division Human Rights Watch

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Phnom Penh smothered in smelly, dangerous haze as landfill fire continues burning

    A putrid haze that has bedeviled Phnom Penh since Monday night will likely continue as a landfill in Dangkao district continued to burn on Friday, creating health risks for the capital's residents. Workers at the Dangkao landfill on site on Friday attributed the fire, which