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

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • MEPs' call for Rainsy's safety not European Parliament position

    The European Parliament said on Friday that a statement by 56 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) calling for guarantees of Sam Rainsy’s freedom and safety should he return to Cambodia did not represent its position. Delphine Colard, the European Parliament’s press officer told

  • Sar Kheng: Rainsy return not blocked

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng clarified that Cambodia had never blocked Sam Rainsy from returning to the Kingdom. However, he said Cambodia reserved the right to take legal action as allowed by law against activities aimed at destroying the Kingdom. “No one blocked the return

  • Cambodia celebrates 66th Independence Day

    Cambodia on Saturday celebrated Independence Day to mark the end of French colonial rule under the leadership of King Father Norodom Sihanouk in 1953. Thousands of people from all walks of life watched King Norodom Sihamoni light the victory flame at Independence Monument to mark the 66