Cambodians beaten, raped and killed at illegal detention camp funded by UN

‘Undesirables’ are swept from the streets before being detained without trial, say human rights groups

image: Ben Doherty
Ben Doherty — The Guardian 
UN funding is being used to run a brutal internment camp for the destitute in Cambodia where detainees are held for months without trial, raped and beaten, sometimes to death, former inmates have told the Guardian.
The Prey Speu facility, 12 miles from Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, is officially described as a “social affairs centre” offering education and healthcare to vulnerable people.

But human rights groups and former inmates say the centre is an illegal, clandestine prison, where people deemed “undesirable” by the government – usually drug users, sex workers and the homeless – are held for months without charge.

Men, women and children are housed together in a single building and are regularly beaten with planks, whipped with wires or threatened with weapons, according to witnesses.

It is alleged that guards have beaten three detainees to death and gang-rapes by the same body of men are reportedly common.
The UN’s own Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has described the conditions at Prey Speu as “appalling” with people “illegally confined and subject to a variety of abuses of power by the staff that included sub-humane conditions of detention, extortion, beating, rape, sometimes resulting in death and suicide”.

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