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Foreign donors are criticised for funding inhumane drug detention centre in Laos

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 11 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6534
  1. Jane Parry
  1. 1Hong Kong

Users of illicit drugs in Laos are being detained without due process at a drug detention centre that is funded by international agencies, says a report by the New York based group Human Rights Watch. Inmates at the Somsanga Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre near the Laotian capital, Vientiane, are subjected to beatings and inhumane conditions, the report says.

The 76 page report strongly criticises international agencies, notably the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for having funded the centre for a decade, in direct contravention of the UN office’s stated opposition to involuntary incarceration as treatment for drug dependency. Other known sources of funding are the governments of the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, and Singapore.

The centre uses long term, compulsory detention to treat users of amphetamine type stimulants, the most common drugs used in Laos. The centre is also used to …

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