Associated Press (12.06.11) - Monday, December 19, 2011
A special rapporteur for the UN Human Rights Council recently
urged Vietnam's government to shutter its rehabilitation
centers for drug users and sex workers. The compulsory
detentions violate drug users' rights, perpetuate stigma and
discrimination against these populations, and hamper anti-
HIV/AIDS efforts, said Anand Grover, who is also co-founder
and director of the HIV/AIDS unit for India's Lawyers
Collective. Grover said he supports expanding alternative
treatments for drug users and closing the centers, which he
called "ineffective and counterproductive."
"The detainees are denied the right to be free from
nonconsensual treatment as well as the right to informed
consent in all medically related decisions," Grover said in a
statement capping a 10-day visit to Vietnam. They "have no
right to know about their case against them and challenge it
at a hearing before the decision is made," he said. "It's
essential to ensure that the considerable resources now
invested in these centers are used instead to expand
alternative treatments for injecting drug users."
Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
In September, Human Rights Watch reported abuse, lack of due
process, and forced work for little pay at rehabilitation
centers, where HRW said hundreds of thousands were imprisoned
over the past decade. At that time, ministry spokesperson
Nguyen Phuong Nga called the report was "groundless" and said
the centers are "humane, effective" and comply with
international drug treatment principles.
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