UN Human Rights Council – 49th Session
Agenda Item 10 – Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia
9am – 12pm, 29 March 2022 (Geneva time)
Statement by the International Drug Policy Consortium and Amnesty International
This statement is delivered on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium and Amnesty International.
As highlighted in study on drug policy released by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, over 56% of people imprisoned in Cambodia are held for drug offences.
- Prisons remain severely overcrowded, with an average occupancy rate of 300% across the country, giving rise to even greater urgency for decongestion in light of the increased risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 73% of women in prison are held for drug offences – one of the highest rates of female incarceration in the world – among them include women with children and pregnant women.
- The Ministry of Interior recently proposed that prison overcrowding could be eased by setting up drug detention centres, where over 4,000 people are arbitrarily detained. As a form of arbitrary detention themselves, drug detention centres are simply not an alternative to incarceration.
We call on the Special Rapporteur and members of the Human Rights Council to urge Cambodia to pursue genuine efforts to reduce the numbers of people in prison and places of detention, including the review of its drug laws and ensuring that people charged with drug offences have access to real alternatives, such as voluntary, community-based and rights-compliant treatment and harm reduction services.