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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
VIETNAM: UN Expert Urges Vietnam to Close Rehab Centers

December 19, 2011
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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