Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Social affairs minister vows to better centres

Social affairs minister vows to better centres

Detainees wander the grounds of the Prey Speu social affairs centre
Detainees wander the grounds of the Prey Speu social affairs centre earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Social affairs minister vows to better centres

Cambodia's social affairs minister promised yesterday to improve the Prey Speu social affairs centre and other detention centres across the Kingdom by increasing food rations and encouraging transparency with supporting NGOs.

The promise comes after the National Assembly’s eighth Commission on Health and Social Affairs requested the ministry to streamline the management of the detention centres, especially Prey Speu, which has long been criticised by NGOs for its reputation as a dumping ground and asylum for Phnom Penh’s “outcasts” and mentally ill residents.

In response to the request, Social Affairs Minister Vong Sauth said his ministry will work on amending a sub-decree adopted in 2006 that prevents human rights abuses against detainees.

“The ministry will work harder to improve the sub-decree with the help of experts working with national and international groups to safeguard their rights, especially children’s,” Sauth said.

By early 2015, the ministry plans to increase detainees’ food rations from about $0.40 cents to $1 per day.

Sauth added that they will also open some detention centres to organisations or individuals interested in visiting and extending help to detainees.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia division, which has called for the closure of Prey Speu in the past, said that the ministry’s planned developments have come too late.

“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound,” Robertson said. “I see it as a manoeuvre to reduce pressure on the ministry . . . but there’s no way to fix the problem with the centres other than to have them shut down.”

Sauth said his ministry also plans to offer food rations to disabled citizens and train them in certain vocations.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SARAH TAGUIAM

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the