Women and children in Cambodian prisons receive much needed donations

Published on July 31, 2007
Donations being distributed at CC2 prison

During the wet season in Cambodia, many people suffer from the notorious dengue virus, a virus which is carried by mosquitoes that thrive in the waters that collect during the wet season. For many people, escaping the virus means vigilantly covering up and closing windows or doors; however for women and children living literally behind prison bars, this is very difficult to do. Thanks to an extremely generous donation from the Women's International Group (WIG), LICADHO was able to distribute blankets and mosquito nets to 664 minor prisoners, pregnant women and children living in 14 Cambodian prisons.

The materials, which were distributed on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 to CC2 and Takhmao prisons, are essential in helping to avoid dengue fever and other mosquito-borne viruses which prisoners are very susceptible to. In CC2, toys and books were also distributed to children living with their mothers in prison, thanks to private donors. The toys and books play an important role in providing stimulation to these innocent children who are living with their mothers in prison and who have very little material in the way of recreation or education.

During the distribution at CC2, WIG representatives and LICADHO staff were also invited to visit the prison's health center where they met with sick female prisoners and were able to give them the donated materials. The materials will also be distributed to 12 other prisons over the next week, which include: Sihanoukville, Kampot, Koh Kong, Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Battabang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kompong Thom, Kompong Cham, and Svay Rieng Prisons.

During her speech at CC2, LICADHO President Dr. Kek Galabru appealed to the inmates, particularly the minor prisoners, to have solidarity and to regard each other as family members, and to develop and apply themselves when they eventually left the prison. She added that this was especially important as they are among the next generation who will contribute to the development of the country.

Representatives of the minor prisoners from CC2 and Takhmao Prisons also had a brief chance to address the group, promising to be unified and to renew themselves after their eventual release from prison.

The LICADHO Prison Project continually monitors the living conditions of prisoners however due to insufficient funds, the lack of sanitation, poor hygiene, and malnutrition in Cambodian prisons, conditions unfortunately remain very poor. In Cambodia's prisons women, children and men are all maintained on a prison budget of USD$0.38 per day, which pays for two meals a day, sanitation, cooking fuel, water, electricity and transportation. Prison is no place for children to grow up, but Cambodia's lack of a juvenile justice system throws children into adult courts and adult prisons with no alternative.