Prison Issues

Report Childhood Behind Bars - Growing up in a Cambodian Prison – Dara’s Story

February 15, 2015

As of November 2014 there were 40 children between the ages of one month and almost four years living with their mothers in the Cambodian prisons monitored by LICADHO. Approximately half of them were born in prison and have never experienced life beyond the prison walls. Whilst there have been few detailed studies assessing the long-term impact of prison life on a child’s development, it is clear that for some children early life behind bars can have devastating physical and psychological consequences and life in Cambodian prisons is no exception.

Report Rights at a Price: Life Inside Cambodia’s Prisons

January 20, 2015

Ahead of the appeal hearing this week for 10 land activists and one monk, all wrongfully convicted and imprisoned following unfair trials, LICADHO is publishing a new report about the current state of Cambodian prisons and the human rights implications for those held in them.

The report “Rights at a Price: Life inside Cambodia’s Prisons” details the ongoing, systematic abuse, discrimination, exploitation and corruption within Cambodia’s prison system and notes that despite steps towards reform, many challenges remain, including prison overcrowding, poor infrastructure, lack of appeal transportation, weak implementation of the law and lack of knowledge amongst prison officials.

Statement LICADHO Calls for Immediate Family Access to all Three CNRP Youth Leaders Currently Detained in Prey Sar’s CC1 Prison

August 20, 2014audio available

LICADHO calls for immediate family access to all three CNRP youth leaders currently detained in Prey Sar’s CC1 prison. Khin Chamreun, Neang Sokhun and San Kimheng have now been in pre-trial detention for 18 days and have not been permitted any family visits.

Report Torture and Ill-Treatment: Testimony from Inside Cambodia's Police Stations and Prisons

June 26, 2014

On June 26, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, LICADHO releases new testimony and analysis of torture and ill-treatment in Cambodia’s police stations and prisons, including the abuse of females and juveniles and those experiencing mental health problems.

Statement On International Children’s Day, LICADHO calls for Improved Protection of Children in Prison

May 30, 2014audio available

LICADHO will mark International Children’s Day 2014 by distributing food and materials to juvenile prisoners, small children living with their incarcerated mothers in prison and pregnant women in eight of Cambodia’s prisons . International Children’s Day officially falls on June 1.

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

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

December 8, 2013audio available

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

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

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

March 7, 2013audio available

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Prison Population Watch
13,504 Occupancy Rate: ↗161%

Click here for the latest report on prison overcrowding
Monthly population figures as of November 30, 2014, from the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO

The Great Cambodian Giveaway

Visualizing Land Concessions over Time