Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Festival detainees still held in Prey Speu: UN

Festival detainees still held in Prey Speu: UN

Detainees sit in Prey Speu social affairs centre earlier this year.
Detainees sit on the grounds of Prey Speu social affairs centre earlier this year. Pha Lina

Festival detainees still held in Prey Speu: UN

Though the Water Festival finished more than a week ago, most of the homeless people rounded up and detained in Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Speu detention centre as part of official efforts to “clean” the streets for the festivities have yet to be released, according to the United Nations.

The ongoing detentions come ahead of a government conference next week aimed at finding alternative solutions to dealing with homelessness in Phnom Penh.

Wan-Hea Lee, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said “most” of the 54 men, women and children taken to Prey Speu ahead of the Water Festival remain in detention at the infamously abusive centre.

Despite consistent denials by the city’s social affairs department of Prey Speu’s ongoing use in roundups, Lee said that since June, people have been kept for “longer detentions than we had observed previously”.

A “national conference on persons in street situations” will be held next week by the Ministry of Social Affairs, with participation from OHCHR and other UN agencies, Lee said.

“The conference aims to create space for examining effective national and international practices, arriving at a consensus on the best ways to deal with persons in street situations in Phnom Penh, and creating the necessary partnerships to follow through with actions.”

Son Sophal, director of the municipal social affairs department, yesterday maintained that those rounded up ahead of the Water Festival were not taken to Prey Speu.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of