Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district authorities on Sunday sent 33 homeless people, including drug addicts and beggars, to the Municipal Department of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation to be trained and rehabilitated.
District deputy governor Yos Yuthy said seven women and two children were among the 33 people who were rounded up on the streets by a joint task force in a bid “to improve public order”.
Some of them, Yuthy added, slept on park benches, while others begged for money, used drugs and used public areas as their toilet.
“The authorities had gathered them several times before, but they always returned to the same spots. We don’t know why.
“We gathered them because we want to teach them some practical skills. If they are mentally stable, we could even help them find a job,” Yuthy told The Post on Monday.
He said drug addicts would be rehabilitated and provided with regular checkups.
“The specialists will also care for those with drug addictions by sending them to the hospital to get medical treatments under the supervision of the social affairs department,” he said.
However, Municipal Social Affairs Department director Mom Chandany said her team had not received the new batch of homeless people in the facility.
“I am not aware when the authorities would send them here. I need to ask the person in charge,” Chandany said.
Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for human rights group Adhoc, on Monday said each citizen has the right to live with dignity and the government must respect, protect and nurture its own people.
He said he supported any initiatives to maintain public order but stressed that wherever the homeless people were sent to, they would be well-taken care of.
“Out-of-school children must be enrolled in schools. Drugs addicts must be rehabilitated. If any of them is sick, they should receive medical treatment.
“We should not detain and let them do whatever they want. They should be taken care of properly,” Sen Karuna said.