Monday, November 10, 2008

Water Festival might lead to gross abuses of human rights

Radio Australia reports that human rights group LICHADO is worried that the upcoming Water Festival, Bon Oum Tuk might see a surge of illegal detentions and abuses for homeless people and sex workers in Phnom Penh. LICADHO'S director, Naly Pilorge states that during public holidays and particularly during Bon Oum Tuk, the Cambodian Government "wishes to maintain its image of the 'Kingdom of Wonder' and therefore the government continues to detain people who they believe contradict that image".

According to LICHADO there are several camps in Cambodia, which the government claims are volontary "Social Rehabilitation Centres", that in reality are illegal prisons that keep the poorest off the street. LICHADO has interviewed former detainees who have described the terrible situation at the camps. Naly Pilorge, says "We have allegations of gang rapes and sexual abuse. We also have information about beatings, very severe beatings leading to the death of people" reports Radio Australia.

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But last week LICADHO monitors gained access to a facility in Kampong Speu province.

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