Topic: Prison Issues

Documents: Submissions to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review for Cambodia

Published on January 28, 2014; Today, the United Nations will conduct a Universal Periodical Review (UPR) of Cambodia to look into some of the key human rights issues affecting the country, from systematic attacks against human rights defenders to labour trafficking and obstacles against basic freedoms such as right to assembly and expression. LICADHO, by itself and with partners, has contributed to this process by submitting a number of documents.

Statement: LICADHO Celebrates International Human Rights Day in Cambodian Prisons

Published on December 8, 2013; As thousands of people gather across Cambodia to celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD), LICADHO will also be celebrating with prisoners in 18 prisons across Cambodia.

LICADHO will organize basic food package distribution to more than 13,000 prisoners in 18 Cambodian prisons,1 including nutrient drinks and snacks. LICADHO will provide a more comprehensive care package to four prisoners that LICADHO considers human rights defenders. LICADHO will also organize entertainment for prisoners, such as traditional dancing and music.

Report: Children Behind Bars: Growing Up in a Cambodian Prison

Published on October 15, 2013; In Cambodia today there are many young children living in prison with their mothers 1 yet there is little understanding amongst authorities and society at large of the short and long term impact of prison life on children. In this, Cambodia is not alone – to date there are only a few studies of the effects on children who spend their early years behind bars.

Prisoners are among the most marginalized groups in any society, and Cambodia is no different. They are cut off from society, both physically and emotionally. This is especially devastating for children who are not prisoners but are too often treated as such. The reality of Cambodian prisons is harsh for anyone, but for a child it can be devastating.

Briefing Paper: In Absentia 2013: An Update on Inmate Transportation and the Right to Appeal

Published on May 30, 2013; In 2010 and 2012, LICADHO reported on Cambodia’s widespread problem of in absentia appeals hearings. Due to Cambodia’s minimal inmate transportation system, hundreds – if not thousands – of prisoners were being systematically refused the right to attend their criminal appeals. Cambodian law requires the presence of the accused at appeal hearings.

After years of delays, prison authorities have finally begun transporting provincial prisoners to their appeals hearings in Phnom Penh, but the failure to offer return transport is threatening to undermine progress.

Statement: LICADHO highlights alarming increase in female prisoner population to mark International Women’s Day

Published on March 7, 2013; The number of women and girls in Cambodian prisons continues to soar at an alarm-ing rate.

By mid-December 2012 there were 1,270 female inmates in the Cambodian prison system, an increase of 39% since December 2010. Women and girls represent 8% of prisoners in Cambodia but their incarceration rate has been growing four times faster than the male prison population.

Briefing Paper: Beyond Capacity 2012: a Progress Report on Cambodia's Exploding Prison Population

Published on July 8, 2012; Two years after LICADHO first warned that Cambodia's prison population was spiraling out of control, growth has finally slowed - but prisons remain at more than 170% of capacity and the underlying causes of the crisis remain unaddressed.

LICADHO's third annual report on prison overcrowding and criminal justice reform updates an array of statistics on the prison population and reexamines recommendations that were made in previous reports from 2010 and 2011.

The report also details some of the underlying factors driving the overcrowding crisis. Most notably, LICADHO research shows that the number of inmates incarcerated for drug of offenses increased by a whopping 163% in 2011. And in 13 prisons surveyed by LICADHO, the total has nearly quadrupled since 2008.

Statement: LICADHO to Mark International Children's Day with Prison Food Distributions

Published on May 29, 2012; LICADHO and its partner NGOs will mark International Children's Day today by distributing food and materials to children and pregnant women in 14 of Cambodia's prisons.

LICADHO has also organized special Children's Day events at Correctional Center 2 ("CC2"), Kandal provincial prison, and Siem Reap provincial prison. The events will include games, prizes and guest speakers who will discuss children's issues.

Briefing Paper: Comments and Recommendations on Inter-Ministerial Prakas on the Prohibition of Using Prison Labor for Producing Export Goods

Published on May 9, 2012; New government regulations take the important step of banning the export of prison-made goods, but fall short of fully protecting inmates from exploitation by private firms, according to a new briefing from LICADHO.

LICADHO believes that the export ban is an important step in protecting Cambodia's reputation as a reputable supplier in the international garment industry. But the prakas fails to fully ban private firms from using prison labor for domestic production, which leaves prisoners open to systematic rights violations.

Briefing Paper: In Absentia 2012: An Update on Cambodia's Inmate Transportation Crisis & The Right to Appeal

Published on April 23, 2012; In 2010, LICADHO reported on an epidemic of in absentia criminal appeals trials in Cambodia. Hundreds of inmates were stranded in provincial prisons, unable to attend their hearings in Phnom Penh due to lack of transportation funding, poor organization between the prisons and courts and, more generally, an indifference to their plight. Two years later, the problem remains unaddressed.

As of February 2012, nearly 800 inmates with pending appeals were held in 11 provincial prisons surveyed by LICADHO. As was the case in 2010, the General Department of Prisons (GDP) still has no means to transport these prisoners to their appeal hearings in Phnom Penh. The prison system lacks the vehicles, gasoline, staffing and funding necessary for a comprehensive long-distance inmate transportation network. This report examines the scope of the problem and possible solutions

Briefing Paper: Comments and Legislative Recommendations on the Draft Law on Prisons

Published on October 19, 2011; A draft prison law which is set to go before the National Assembly is a positive step for Cambodia's prison system, but falls short of fully protecting prisoners' rights in several key respects.

The draft law's shortcomings are detailed in a new briefing paper from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). The paper also highlights a handful of the law's positive provisions.

Report: Cambodia Prison Overcrowding Crisis Only Getting Worse

Published on July 4, 2011; One year after LICADHO warned that Cambodia's prisons were in danger of becoming the world's most overcrowded, the country's inmate population continues to spiral out of control.

In late April 2011, Cambodia's total prison population stood at 15,001, a 12.6% increase over March 2010. That figure brought prison occupancy to 179%, keeping Cambodia's prison system among the 25 most overcrowded in the world. The system could overtake the top spot by 2019 if current trends continue.

Statement: LICADHO to Mark International Children's Day 2011 with Prison Visits

Published on June 1, 2011; Phnom Penh - LICADHO and friends will mark International Children's Day on June 1, 2011 by distributing food and materials to children and pregnant women in 14 of Cambodia's prisons.

In cooperation with prison department at Ministry of Interior, LICADHO will also hold special Children's Day events at Correctional Center 2 ("CC2") and Takhmao prisons. The events at CC2 and Takhmao will include games, prizes and guest speakers who will discuss children's issues.

Some 730 juvenile prisoners were incarcerated in Cambodia's 25 prisons as of April 2011, according to government statistics. The General Department of Prisons defines juvenile prisoners as those who were between ages 14 and 17 when they committed their crime; they may continue to be classified as juvenile prisoners if they reach their 18th birthday in prison. Fourteen is the age of criminal responsibility in Cambodia.

Statement: LICADHO Highlights Plight of Women in Prison to Mark International Women's Day

Published on March 8, 2011; The number of women and girls in Cambodian prisons has soared 41 percent since 2007, outpacing the already extraordinary overall growth rate of 29 percent during the same period.

At the end of 2010, a total of 914 women were incarcerated in Cambodia. An average of 12 of these women was pregnant; while an average of 47 young children were living alongside their incarcerated mothers.

LICADHO and its partner NGOs are marking International Women's Day this year by drawing attention to the plight of imprisoned women and children. LICADHO and its partners will deliver food and supplies to female prisoners at 18 prisons and hold special events at Correctional Center 2 ("CC2") and Takhmao prisons. The events at CC2 and Takhmao will include traditional dancing and games, as well as guest speakers who will spread out International Women's Day impression.

Report: Beyond Capacity: Cambodia's Exploding Prison Population & Correctional Center 4

Published on July 19, 2010; Cambodia’s prison population is in the midst of an unprecedented population boom. Just six years ago, the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO were at roughly 100% of their collective capacity1. Since then, the population has exploded, growing at an average rate of 14% per year. Prison capacity has also increased, but not nearly enough to keep pace with growth.

The General Department of Prisons (GDP) reported in March 2010 that the entire prison system held 13,325 inmates - 167% of the system’s 8,000-inmate capacity. The 18 prisons LICADHO monitors, meanwhile, were filled to 175% of capacity as of June 2010. As of December 2009, one third of all Cambodian prisoners - over 4,000 - were in pretrial status.

Report: A review of the conditions of mothers, pregnant women and young children living in ten Cambodian prisons

Published on June 12, 2010; In June 2009, LICADHO together with Horizons commenced a national survey of women living with their children in Cambodian prisons. The purpose of the survey was to identify the key problems faced by women and children during their incarceration, particularly in relation to food, clothing, health and hygiene; the extent to which services provided through the Adopt-A-Prison Project has helped to address these problems; and assess the need for educational and recreational programs for children living in prison.

Prison Population Watch
12,780 Occupancy Rate: ↘153%

Click here for the latest report on prison overcrowding
Monthly population figures as of February 27, 2014, from the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO

The Great Cambodian Giveaway

Visualizing Land Concessions over Time