UN expert urges Viet Nam to close compulsory rehabilitation centres for drug users

5 December 2011

A United Nations expert urged Viet Nam today to close down its compulsory rehabilitation centres for sex workers and drug users, stressing that detention and forced treatment violate their right to health and perpetuate stigmatization and discrimination of those groups in the society.

“Detainees are denied the right to be free from non-consensual treatment as well as the right to informed consent in all medically related decisions,” said Special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover, who concluded his visit to the country today.

Mr. Grover called the practices “ineffective and counterproductive,” and encouraged the Government to close down the centres and instead support its population’s participation in formulating and implementing all decisions regarding their health.

“I wholeheartedly support the closure of the rehabilitation centres,” said Mr. Grover. “It is essential to ensure that the considerable resources now invested in these centres are used instead to expand alternative treatments for injecting drug users.”

Mr. Grover praised the Government for starting pilot community-based initiatives and methadone programmes, which help reduce withdrawal symptoms in drug users and are “less costly and more effective in reducing drug use and facilitating the reintegration of injecting drug users back into the society.”

 

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