Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Let Prey Speu detainees go: HRW

Let Prey Speu detainees go: HRW

Let Prey Speu detainees go: HRW

A major rights group yesterday called for the immediate release of dozens of people “arbitrarily detained” in Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Speu Social Affairs Centre, after being forcibly rounded up from the streets last week.

In a statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) hit out at the roundups of street children, homeless people, drug users and sex workers, which took place ahead of the funeral of the late Cambodian People’s Party and Senate president Chea Sim.

On Tuesday, 110 of those rounded up were still being detained at Prey Speu, where meals are meagre, health care is nonexistent and escape is not an option.

Staff at the centre said they were under orders from City Hall not to release those unwillingly held there – a group that included young children.

“Cambodian holidays and ceremonies should not be ‘celebrated’ with the arbitrary arrests of the country’s most vulnerable people,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW.

“Those thrown without charge into misnamed ‘opportunity centres’ should be immediately released.”

Son Sophal, director of Phnom Penh’s Social Affairs Department, refused to comment on the roundups, or whether people had been released.

A member of staff at the detention centre who requested anonymity claimed that around half of those held on Tuesday have now been released.

Wan-Hea Lee, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said 12 people living with HIV/AIDS were yesterday “released in the care of an NGO specialised in such services”.

Two children, she said, remain at the centre.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding