Drug Detention and Human Rights in Post- Doi Moi Vietnam

Authored by: Claire Edington

The Postcolonial World

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138778078
eBook ISBN: 9781315297699
Adobe ISBN: 9781315297682


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In September 2011, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing human rights abuses in drug detention centers in Southern Vietnam. Entitled “The Rehab Archipelago,” the report provided an overview of government policies toward drug use while also documenting the conditions inside detention centers based on interviews with recently released individuals. 1 From the investigation emerged a bleak picture of the experience of drug incarceration in Vietnam, marked by the long-term and arbitrary nature of detention in addition to forced detoxification and compulsory labor. 2 The report condemned these practices as clearly at odds with internationally recognized principles of human rights and public health evidence and urged for the immediate closure of the centers. The report appeared, even as drug detention centers – “06 centers,” as they are called locally – continued to proliferate in Vietnam, expanding from 56 centers in 2000 to 84 in 2006 to 109 in 2009, in addition to 19 privately owned facilities. 3 As of 2013, 126 detention centers operated in Vietnam. 4 This carceral network is not limited to Vietnam. Similar institutions are found throughout the region including China, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, and Thailand. According to official reports, as of October 2012, there were 235,000 people detained in over 1,000 drug detention centers across East and Southeast Asia. 5

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