UN condemns compulsory rehabilitation

The entities of the UN have called upon States to close compulsory drug-detention facilities and to implement a voluntary system based on evidence and a rights-based approach. In a joint statement the use of these ‘rehabilitation centres’ saying that it raises human rights issues and detrimental to the health of those detained in these centres.

Several countries currently employ the use of compulsory rehabilitation in their drug policy, despite how ineffective they are. In some countries such as Vietnam manual labour is all part of the ‘recovery process’ where drug users are forced to work for nothing or at best 1/3rd of minimum wage. The state run media seem to paint that as an opportunity saying that “are given the chance to learn the skill of cashew nuts processing.”

The UN calls for an end to these detention facilities and calls for an immediate release of all detainees saying that after their release they should be able to have access to appropriate health care services which should be there on a voluntary basis. The UN has offered to help work with States willing to close these drug detention facilities.

If a State cannot close these centres quickly then the UN urges that:
•    There is an immediate review conducted to find out who can be released immediately from these detention facilities.
•    A review into the conditions of these facilities to find a way to immediately improve the conditions within these centres.
•    Health Care provisions in place for when the detention facilities eventually close.

On the issue of sex workers the statement called for better protection from discrimination and better access to HIV treatment and prevention. The statement also calls for an appropriate response in cases involving those under the age of 18 family and community based.

The statement finally says that the UN entities are committed to working with countries to find other means of rehabilitation other than compulsory drug detention facilities. You can view the statement here.