Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh's prisons refitted with foreign aid



Phnom Penh's prisons refitted with foreign aid

Phnom Penh's prisons refitted with foreign aid

P HNOM PENH'S Police Judiciary (PJ) prison, which once held 200 inmates in a space designed for 50, is being emptied in preparation for the final stages of an Australian-funded overhaul.

Eight inmates - four men and four women - are the prison's only occupants after dozens of others were transferred.

The eight are expected to follow soon, allowing much-needed maintenance work to be carried out before new prisoners are sent there.

The work is being funded by the Australian Embassy, which is also helping to improve conditions at the city's T3 prison and Prey Sar prison in Kandal Province.

Embassy media officer Alastair Gaisford said extensive renovation work at PJ included repairing sewage and water tanks, painting the building and putting up a new roof.

To improve the life of inmates, mat beds were put in all the cells. Their solid steel doors were replaced with grilled ones to increase lighting and ventilation.

An exercise yard was built for inmates, who, despite prison regulations that they have five hours exercise a day, were usually locked up in their cells for 23 or 24 hours.

When the restoration work was completed, a prison muster maximum of 50 would be enforced, with only 1 inmate in each cell.

Previously up to 20 to 30 inmates were jammed in each cell, which measure 2x4 meters, prompting frequent fights between them.

Gaisford said the embassy hoped to make a real difference to the health, welfare and comfort of inmates in the antiquated prison.

Australian Justice Michael Kirby (pictured above), the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia, visited PJ on November 18 and said conditions there had already been greatly improved since his first visit there in May.

Kirby said it was important that conditions in Cambodia's more than 20 prisons were improved, but it would not be done quickly.

"You can't change ancient institutions overnight. It takes time, it takes commitment of the Cambodian government, it takes support from the international community".

Kirby reiterated his deep concern about reports of secret prisons and said he would continue to discuss the issue with the government.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Capital set to beef up security

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng held the first meeting of the year with heads of armed forces in the capital to review and repair the deficiencies related to gun control, drug crimes, social order disruptions due to alcohol consumption and traffic law enforcement. Municipal