Hundreds of thousands of people identified as drug users in China and across Southeast Asia are held without due process in centers where they may be subjected to torture, and physical and sexual violence in the name of “treatment,” Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. International donors and United Nations agencies have supported and funded drug detention centers that systematically deny people rights to effective HIV and drug dependency treatment, and have ignored forced labor and abuse.

The 23-page document, “Torture in the Name of Treatment: Human Rights Abuses in Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR,” summarizes research with individuals who had been detained in Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. More than 350,000 people identified as drug users are detained in the name of “treatment” in these countries for periods of up to five years. In many centers, drug users are held alongside homeless people, people with psychosocial disabilities, and street children, and are forced to perform military drills, chant slogans, and work as “therapy.”

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.