Following a visit to Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Speu detention centre on Friday, the United Nations, NGOs and authorities have vowed to work together to find solutions for those detained there.
Wan-Hea Lee, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said 67 people – including 25 women and one child – remained at the centre on Friday.
OHCHR is currently attempting to secure the release of around 10 detainees, “while also working to find durable solutions for the others”, she said.
Prey Speu, which was officially re-named Por Sen Chey Vocational Training Centre in 2013, has long been used as a dumping ground for the capital’s most vulnerable citizens, and has been plagued with reports of abuse.
“In discussions with officials from the centre, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Phnom Penh municipality, there was consensus about the need for coordinated responses and referral services and support from different stakeholders,” Lee said.
It was also agreed that a working group dealing with these issues “should resume its functioning, with the participation of a variety of concerned organisations, in order to both advance the longer-term policy discussions and to address the immediate needs”.
Son Sophal, director of Phnom Penh’s Social Affairs Department, said the government was committed to “improving conditions” at the centre.