Compulsory Treatment and Abuse

This disturbing video from the always excellent Hungarian Civil Liberties Union documents some of the abuses in China and Southeast Asia regarding drug users.

The governments of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand received millions of dollars from Western governments to build camps to treat drug addicts. Tax payers in donor countries had no idea what is happening in these camps before Human Rights Watch documented the widespread human rights abuses.

Some people enter voluntarily in the hope of kicking their drug habit, others are sent there by their families who pay for their “treatment”; but in some cities, it often happens that the military police just collect street children, drug users, sex workers and other groups on the street considered “deviant” by the authorities and detains them in a camp for years, without any due process or right of appeal. It’s easy to get in – but it’s hard to get out. Detainees are often forced to work for free, starved, beaten, tortured and raped – but they don’t get any treatment or rehabilitation.

Some of these abuses have stopped and a couple of camps have been closed down, but that hasn’t been because of any proactive efforts by western governments or the UNODC (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime); rather, it’s only happened because human rights and harm reduction advocacy groups have convinced entities like UNICEF to stop funding these abominations.

In fact, Cambodia appears poised to actually increase the problems, based on new laws that the UNODC actually helped draft.

Among the concerns are provisions defining a drug addict as any person who “consumes drugs and is under the influence of drugs” (Article 4). The draft also contains no provisions exempting needle exchanges and other harm reduction organisations from prosecution under six articles relating to the “facilitation” of drug use. […]

Of greatest concern, however, are sections of the draft dealing with the involuntary treatment of drug users.

In January, Human Rights Watch reported on the conditions in seven Cambodian drug-detention centres, documenting the “widespread beatings, whippings, and electric shock[s]” of detainees. Under Article 109 of the draft, drug users can be forced into involuntary treatment for up to two years.

“In its current form, the draft law is worse,” said Joe Amon, director of HRW’s health and human rights division. “Drug users will be detained longer and there are inadequate guarantees that they’ll get appropriate treatment for drug dependency.”

While Article 101 of the draft claims treatment and rehabilitation can only take place with the consent of drug users, it says treatment can be compelled in “special cases”, for the “benefit of the drug addict” or for the “common interest”. Naly Pilorge said that considering the government’s track record in arbitrary detention, such vague terms were “bound to be abused”.

Gee, I wonder what kind of treatment people will be getting at these centers?

This month, the Council of Ministers approved plans for the country’s largest drug rehabilitation centre. Moek Dara, Secretary General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said the facility would be built on 20 hectares of land in Preah Sihanouk province donated by tycoon Mong Reththy, and would have a capacity of 2,000.

“We’re not forcing them to be bad, we’re forcing them to be good,” he said at the time. Mong Reththy added that internees would be invited to work on plantations that he owns nearby.

Invited. Ah.

So this was a set of laws that the UNODC actually helped draft? Was it one of their interns? Or, more likely, were they just there as a point of show… part of a larger interest that they have in Cambodia. In an internal document, the UNODC implied they had an entire legal team working on it…

The same document, however, also pointed out that the agency had not been able to ensure “that the penalty threshold for drug offences was lowered, that human rights were protected and that the law was consistent with harm reduction principles”. Despite these concerns, it only recommended that the law be reviewed three years after its passage.

“UNODC has made public statements that Cambodia’s centres should be closed, while simultaneously working up a law to increase periods of compulsory ‘treatment’ in the centres,” HRW’s Amon said.

“Despite what they’ve said in public, the real behind-the-scenes technical assistance to the Cambodian government follows an old-fashioned ‘war on drugs’ mentality in which human rights concerns are an afterthought.”

The UNODC has always (and especially in recent years because of the pressure of human rights and harm reduction groups) given lip service to the notion and importance of human rights yet they never seem to make that a priority compared to their interest in pushing for enforcement.

In this way, they’re very much like the ONDCP — they talk about good things, but put their money and time into the same old failed prohibitionist strategies.

Obviously, we’re in much better shape here in terms of the nature of our treatment facilities (although we’ve certainly had some very bad experiences historically.

Yet this troubling notion of compulsory treatment tied to an enforcement arm is prevalent here as well, often disconnected from any real individualized assessment of actual treatment need. In fact, we have well-respected academics who will put up with all the damage and abuse of prohibition just so the government can maintain the power to force people into coerced treatment for no greater crime than being a drug user.

There are some outstanding international harm reduction organizations that can help us develop effective needs-based treatment without coercion that will be more cost-effective and also provide better benefit to the individual and society.

We need to dismantle our prohibition machine and implement something that’s effective without the destruction. Then we need to be an example and take that out to the rest of the world, instead of exporting a drug war that causes death and abuse.

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20 Responses to Compulsory Treatment and Abuse

  1. Off- topic observation: As I sit here watching Obama sign the repeal of DADT, I’m struck by the fact that drug policy and gay rights reform started at about the same time. Which makes me repeat my belief that we should all be gay for a day. Perhaps then we could have the same success. Gay rights activists put far more pressure on Obama than have drug policy activists, and today we see the fruits of their labors.

    Ethan Nadelmann et al. should take notice and learn from our gay brothers and sisters.

  2. primus says:

    That we know this type of information is good, but it is vital that we get this out to the public. The only way to do so is TV–the indoctrination machine. Until the people see it on TV they will be unaware. When that happens, the outrage factor will take over. Until then, don’t hold your breath.

  3. Jake says:

    ‘Invited’ hey… sounds to me like the UNODC is actually granting passes for the use of slave labour. I mean surely.. is this not the point where the UNODC’s activities are actually criminal?! Blatant HR violations in the name of the ‘war on (some)drugs’… the higher-ups should be rounded up and tried for war-crimes!

  4. Ben Mann says:

    Disgusting. Offer other countries millions of dollars to enforce the same pernicious Drug War policies in their homelands. And what do they do? Pocket all the money, and torture some impoverished locals to show the US that they’re holding up their end of the bargain.


  5. kaptinemo says:

    Yeah, suuuuure the Kampucheans are ‘invited’ into the camps, the plantations, etc. Suuuure they were. (Spitting sound)

    As if people who hadn’t survived the Khmer Rouge killing fields wouldn’t know the difference? As if their children wouldn’t?

    This is the ugly, hidden face of the cherubic, scrubbed clean and polished mask of ‘globalism’: de facto slave labor camps. Same damn thing the French pulled in Viet Nam prior to and after the Japanese occupation…which was, itself, sheer Hell for the locals.

    Doesn’t anyone read any history books anymore? Anyone familiar with the area could see this coming a mile off. For the UNODC to say that they were oblivious to the potential human rights issues that this was sure to aggravate is the height of willful dissembling, if not outright callous mendacity.

  6. neo-feudal globalist plantation says:

    Welcome to globalism. Don’t worry no CEO’s or politricks will suffer only serfs.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention Compulsory Treatment and Abuse - Drug WarRant --

  8. claygooding says:

    Pitiful,what industries will do to keep hemp off the open market.

    Holy Hemp! Pat Roberston Supports Ending Cannabis Prohibition In An Effort To Get ‘Smart On Crime’

  9. Servetus says:

    In the imaginary, drug-free world conjured-up within the convoluted, primitive, neural mass that passes for a brain among prohibitionists, all things are bright and beautiful, including the advocates and sponsors of prohibition. The prohibs arrogantly imagine that they and the state can do no wrong. They, and only they, are ready with the answer: purify society at any cost! We’ve heard it before from every sociopathic tyrant who’s ever mounted a podium.

    In the real world, bigotry, corruption, oppression, fanaticism, authoritarianism, greed and stupidity rule. Any assumption that the alleged picture-perfect ideals of prohibition will survive Rio’s slums, Ciudad Juarez’s back alleys, China’s executioners, Cambodia’s slave labor camps, or the mean streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a complete fiction. There is no possibility of enforcing drug prohibition in any way that is humane or morally legitimate.

    With prohibition eliminated, drug legalization and regulation become the only available options capable of withstanding systemic corruption.

  10. DdC says:

    DEAth justifies death over illicit drugs.
    DEAth justifies whatever it needs. That’s there job.

    Thailand: US Official Declares War On Drugs A Success
    (27 Nov 2003) Bangkok Post Thailand

    From February of 2003, to 100 days later, June 2003, Thai police executed over 4,000 Thais, jailing 60,000, in a bid to meet targets set by the Thai Prime Minister to ‘complertely end all illegal drug use by whatever means necessary’.

    The Thai Army receives U.S. training. Note the last half of message below to see your U.S. tax dollars at work recently in torturing people nearly to death. This is the normal result of U.S. training of armies and police worldwide, and why the U.S. is hated worldwide. U.S.-aided Death.

    Souder reported he made two trips last year — one overseas and one to Florida — that he did not pay for. The U.S.-Thailand Business Council paid the bill for a 16-day trip to Thailand last fall…May 16, 1997

    Witness: Drug War Spraying Colombia To

    Malaysia DEAth Sentences for Marijuana

    Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban
    ll that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously. That’s the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that “rogue regime” for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God.

    Exporting DEAmocracy
    DWR: Sunday, August 24, 2008
    At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, and disreputable form of recreation a person could have.
    — Donnie Marshall, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

    This is part of our global contribution. The drug war has become the preferred foreign policy approach toward controlling much of the world. We export our drug war, our tactics, and, most of all, our DEA.
    (Now with offices in
    Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Suriname, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands, Haiti, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Mongolia, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caldeonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Western Samoa, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kiribati, Nauru, Philippines, Burma, South Korea, Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Laos, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bahrain, Chad, Dijibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Russia, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Western Sahara, Channel Islands, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Azores, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Gibraltar, Portugal, Principality of Andorra, Spain, Spanish Enclaves (Ceuta & Melilla), Algeria, France, Monaco, Morocco, Tunisia, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Slovak Republic, Ukraine.)

  11. vicky vampire says:

    This is despicable and sick to me turns my stomach,countless Deaths and torture justified by an insane drug war that our supposed civilized country continues knowing full well these folks don’t rehabilitate they torture and beat and who knows what else other horrors goes on in these places all to eradicate drugs for some quid-pro-quo game between USA and despotic regimes. Yuk,

  12. tiny victories says:

    Montana Jury Pool Stages ‘Mutiny’ Over Pot Possession Charge
    Jillian Rayfield | December 22, 2010, 8:43AM

    A prosecutor in Missoula County, Montana was forced to reach a plea agreement in a felony drug case after almost all 27 members of the jury pool said they would not convict the suspect for possessing such a small amount of marijuana.

    Touray Cornell was arrested after a search of his house turned up used joints, a pipe, and pot residue. The search was prompted by neighbors complaining that he was allegedly selling drugs, which he reportedly admitted to in an affidavit. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, Cornell’s “criminal history includes numerous felony convictions.”

    But none of this was enough for the potential jurors, who all told District Court Judge Dusty Deschamps that they would not convict him for the pot. “I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,'” Deschamps told the Missoulian.

    He then called a recess, during which Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul worked out a plea deal. Paul described the incident as “a mutiny.”

    Even Cornell’s own attorney was flummoxed, calling it “bizarre.”

    “I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to seat a jury in marijuana cases, at least the ones involving a small amount,” Deschamps said.

  13. Cliff says:

    The UNODC is just Beta testing its slave labor camps. When they get all the bugs worked out they will import these camps to the US, just in time for the economic collapse.

    The economy is running just the way the banksters, pin striped bandits and politrixters want it to. They have created a system where, on one side, a bunch of desperate people without jobs who will do anything to get one, and the other side, those who are fortunate enough to have a job but are so scared of losing it.

    The next economic storm coming could be the straw that breaks our country’s back. The thin veneer of civilization here is wearing thin in places, it won’t take much to completely wear through.

  14. Tony Aroma says:

    Great training video for the prohibitionists in the US. I bet they’re taking notes. Actually, their philosophy is not any different than ours, their methods are just more extreme. Slightly.

    We have far more drug users in prison, where they are often abused. In private prisons especially. Prisoners in GA just staged a revolt because of their forced labor. We force people into treatment who are not addicts. We put people in prison or fire them for failing a drug test. These people are just a bit more serious about this stuff than we are.

  15. Duncan20903 says:

    I think Mr. Obama should have repealed DADT but what purpose did it serve announcing it everyone? All it does is get the neanderthals and the neo-cons in an uproar and their panties in a bunch.

    Never try to teach a pig to sing. It’s a waste of your time, and it annoys the pig.

  16. Duncan20903 says:

    Chinese doesn’t translate into English very well. When I was growing up the was a city in China called Peking. The Huongs spelled their family name Wang, and I could probably come up with another dozen examples to present if I were so inclined.

    Was it this forum where I posted the article that Fiji was going to get serious about pot smoking/cultivation and so they were going to spank them? It was amusing that it translated that way but the guy was talking Singapore style caning, not the spankings that we give our lovers as foreplay.

    Oh, silly me the Internet never forgets, now does it? Although it does seem that wasn’t an isolated incident of poor translation because if you Google fiji +spanking you’ll get a bunch of returns where the Fijians are talking about giving spankings to those who violate their laws. The word macho was assimilated into the English language because it didn’t have a English equivalent. In the daze of my youth I was told at least 100 times that there is no such word as ain’t. These are living words which no one with any sense would try to refudiate.

    “From Fiji Times on the 16 August 2010, comes the evidence that the authorities in one village take drug farming seriously:

    ANY villager found cultivating marijuana in a district of the Northern Division will be punished by spanking despite the age group.

    The village law recently introduced at Visoqo Village in Namuka, Macuata, was launched in conjunction with the youth program that aims to stop youths from engaging in criminal activities, including drug-related issues.

    Visoqo Village spokesman Jone Waisele said the villagers had accepted the rule.

    “The youths know that when they entertain criminal activities and cultivate drugs, and having police arrest them, it brings a bad image to this vanua so we have put up this rule to deter them,” Mr Waisele said.

    He said anyone found guilty of cultivating drugs would be spanked three times.

    “If the parents want to present a i soro to the village and Tui Namuka, that will also be accepted but it will not prevent spanking”. /

    Anyway, that’s my speculation of why the people in the story were issued “invitations”.

    BTW what the heck is an i soro?

  17. claygooding says:

    Duncan,probably with a green bamboo cane about 7ft long,,
    guaranteed to make your day one that stands up in your memory but it beats locking them up or putting them in concentration camps as slave labor for indefinite periods.

  18. Paul says:

    The world is awash in evil. But it is the WHOLE world. Awful things are happening everywhere, all the time. And it is but for the grace of God you and I are not in one of the world’s numberless prisons:

    “The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a center of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: “You are under arrest.” –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  19. Duncan20903 says:

    Daniel Williams, the gays have a distinct advantage over potheads because you can’t arrest a man (woman) for possession of a penis (vagina).

    The other advantage that the gays have is they don’t often get stuck with surprise progeny. Children cost a lot of money you know.

    Which brings my pet peeve of the year 2010. Does anyone else not find it frigging unfathomable in this day and age that there is even one person who hates oral sex and would want to re-criminalize it? The next thing you know they’ll make it illegal to seek auto-erotic stimulus with a fleshlight while driving. There will also be a few fringe whackos that will lobby to make fleshlight possession a criminal act. Hopefully they won’t get away with it since the SCOTUS decided that we have a natural born right to enjoy oral sex, and that right is protected by the US Constitution.

    The Texas Republican Party has passed its new election platform, including a ban on pornography, oral sex, gay marriage, sodomy, strip clubs — they also want to ditch the Federal Reserve, “withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights,” “oppose the implementation of one world currency” (why was I not informed of this One World Currency? It would sure make travel simpler!), and get the US out of the UN. The platform itself seems to be down (if you’ve got a working link, post it to comments — here’s one), but here’s some verbatim highlights.

    Alright now, who the heck knew that the word gay more frequently refers to heterosexual behavior than to homosexual?

    1.having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
    2.bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
    3.given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
    4.licentious; dissipated; wanton: The baron is a gay old rogue with an eye for the ladies
    6 of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization.

  20. KinkySexMakesTheWorldGoRound says:

    Getting spanked for smoking weed? Damn that sounds kinky. I hope it is done by a big breasted female officer in a really tight uniform. /sarcasm

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