Human Rights Watch: Hundreds of Thousands Still Tortured in Name of Drug Treatment

Health & Family

Correction Appended: Aug. 6, 2012

More than 350,000 people are held in filthy, overcrowded “drug treatment” centers — actually forced-labor camps — in Asia, where they are beaten and compelled to engage in harsh work for little or no pay, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). They are detained without due process, some tortured with electric shock, starved and deprived of food and water.

Although 12 U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, called for the closure of these detention centers in March, little action has been taken, according to the report. The centers are located mainly in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. Even countries that are against human-rights abuses appear to be funding them inadvertently, according to the medical journal the Lancet: in June, the U.S. government pledged $400,000 toward the upkeep of…

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