Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign




Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign

National Aids Authority Vice Chair Tia Phalla (centre) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea (right) speak at a policy dialogue on drug issues yesterday in Phnom Penh
National Aids Authority Vice Chair Tia Phalla (centre) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea (right) speak at a policy dialogue on drug issues yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign

A meeting between local NGOs, recovering drug users, government agencies and UNAIDS yesterday highlighted tensions between civil society and the government with regards to substance abuse as authorities express a desire to extend the Kingdom’s six-month-old controversial anti-drug campaign.

HIV/AIDS NGO Khana billed the event as a policy dialogue based around “Support! Don’t Punish”, a global advocacy campaign calling for reforms that emphasise rehabilitation over criminalisation of drug users.

Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea defended the anti-drug campaign, saying that in six months, there were “no human rights violations, no blood, no killing”, and claimed that police never sent drug users to prison, only to rehabilitation facilities.

However, Sou Sochenda, a manager at Khana, contended that many of those arrested as drug traffickers during the campaign were in fact engaging in little more than petty dealing to support their own habits, and asked if the government could employ alternatives to incarceration for such cases.

Responding to Sochenda, Yuthea replied, “You cannot mix the law with emotion.”

Ouk Tha, a representative of the Cambodian Network of People Who Use Drugs, asked if the government could release drug users held in detention centres to receive methadone substitution therapy or anti-retroviral treatment for HIV.

Yuthea said that the government should consider establishing more convenient methadone treatment points.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia