Prey Speu Detention Center Should be Shut for Good

Published on June 8, 2016

Prey Speu “Social Affairs” center has made the headlines again recently following the decision by the Phnom Penh Municipality to keep the detention facility open despite Prime Minister Hun Sen’s support for its closure (Cambodia Daily, “Officials Keep Prey Speu Open After PM’s Rebuke”, June 3, 2016).

Back in 2007, LICADHO was approached by relatives of two young children who had been sent to Prey Speu center. They asked us for help in securing the release of the 11-year-old and 14-year-old boys from an overcrowded room within which homeless people, sex workers, beggars and drug users were arbitrarily detained in inhuman conditions on no legal grounds.

That turned out to be the first of many, many cases to come.

In late 2008, following LICADHO’s documentation of torture and deaths within the walls of Prey Speu, authorities temporarily suspended the center’s activities. However, illegal detention and abuses resumed within a year – despite claims that the center had been “reformed.” Since then, authorities have cyclically served this empty claim to justify keeping the center open. Yet the latest documented deaths occurred as recently as October 2015.

The reforming of Prey Speu is a myth, and its existence remains a threat to the most vulnerable.

LICADHO urges the authorities to face the realities of the Prey Speu “Social Affairs” center and to put an end to more than a decade of systematic unlawful detention and torture by shutting the facility once and for all.

This first appeared in the Cambodia Daily on June 8, 2016.

MP3 format: Listen to audio version in Khmer