Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cambodian government accused of creating 'Aids colony'

Open letter from human rights groups condemns 'life-threatening' conditions at settlement outside Phnom Penh

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Justin McCurry
Guardian (UK)

Aids campaigners and human rights groups today accused the Cambodian government of herding HIV-affected families into an "Aids colony" outside the capital, Phnom Penh.

In an open letter to the country's prime minister, Hun Sen, and the health minister, Mam Bunheng, more than 100 international and domestic pressure groups said they were deeply disturbed by the "life-threatening" conditions in the settlement.

Forty families are forced to live in sheet-metal sheds without running water or proper sanitation.

The government has spent the past two months moving people with HIV/Aids from the Borei Keila district of Phnom Penh to Tuol Sambo, a flood-prone area 15 miles (25km) away.

"By bundling people living with HIV together in second-rate housing, far from medical facilities, support services and jobs, the government has created a de facto Aids colony," Shiba Phurailatpam, of the Asia-Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/Aids, said.

Rebecca Schleifer, a Human Rights Watch spokeswoman, said conditions at Tuol Sambo posed "serious risks" to people who were already vulnerable to illness.

"People living with HIV have compromised immune systems and are especially vulnerable," she added. "For them, these substandard conditions can mean a death sentence or a ticket to a hospital."

According to Médecins sans Frontières, conditions at Tuol Sambo do not meet the minimum international standards for temporary housing.

The families were evicted from Borei Keila to make way for a commercial development, which was reportedly granted government approval on the understanding that the developer would place the residents, including those with HIV/Aids, into new housing.

The evictions continued despite protests from UN agencies, and the campaigners' letter said: "We have reason to fear that relocations of HIV-affected families are continuing even as we sign this letter."

They urged the government to stop moving families to Tuol Sambo, urgently improve living conditions there and ensure that people with HIV have access to antiretroviral drugs.

Local officials said they were aware of the concerns over the settlement and were trying to improve conditions.

"We are trying to find clean water for them," Phnom Penh's deputy governor, Mann Chhoeun, told the Phnom Penh Post, adding that plans had been made to distribute free medicine via the Centre of Hope mission.

In 2008, according to UNAids, an estimated 67,200 adults and 3,800 children in Cambodia were living with HIV/Aids.


Anonymous said...

the solution is to find or put into place a permanent gov't solution like a social services organizations to help these people, not ignoring them!

Anonymous said...

Democratic Kampuchea Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Regime had committed:

Crimes Against Humanity
Overwork to Death
Human Abuses
Assault and Battery

Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime had committed:

Assassinate Journalists
Assassinate Political Opponents
Extrajudicial Execution
Grenade Attack
Drive by Shooting
Death Threats
Human Abductions
Human Rights Abuses
Human Trafficking
Drugs Trafficking
Under Age Child Sex
Illegal Mass Evictions
Illegal Land Grabbing
Illegal Firearms
Illegal Logging
Illegal Deforestation
Illegally use of remote detonation on Sokha Helicopter, while Hok Lundy and others military official on board.
Illegally Sold State Properties
Illegally Remove Parliamentary Immunity of Parliament Members
Plunder National Resources
Acid Attacks
Turn Cambodia into a Lawless Country
Steal Votes
Bring Foreigners from Veitnam to vote in Cambodia for Cambodian People's Party.
Abuse the Court as a tools for CPP to send political opponents and journalists to jail.
Abuse of Power
Abuse the Laws
Abuse the National Election Committee
Abuse the National Assembly
Violate the Laws
Violate the Constitution
Violate the Paris Accords

Under Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Khmer Rouge Regime, no criminals that has been committed all of these crimes above within Hun Sen Khmer Rouge government have ever been brought to justice.