organization’s projects with or in such centers.
To provide you with an overview, our research to date has documented a number of serious concerns in Vietnamese drug detention centers, including:
With respect to dealings that your organization may have with any of these centers, we would be grateful for the following information:
We welcome your response and any other comments you may wish to bring to our attention regarding our findings, ideally within the next four weeks, by [date]. Any responses or comments you wish to make will be reflected in our reporting and we may publish these responses, and this request, in full.
Joseph J. Amon, PhD, MSPH
Suggested template for information on projects implemented in or with Vietnam’s drug detention centers
32 individuals interviewed were detained in 14 centers administered by Ho Chi Minh City officials and two individuals had been detained by Ho Chi Minh City authorities before being tiep bong da k+ transferred to centers under the administration of other provinces. In addition to the 16 centers administered by Ho Chi Minh City officials, those authorities also operated an additional center (Trong Diem) in Binh Phuoc province until at least 2008. While Human Rights Watch spoke to former detainees of this particular center, this testimony has not been included in this report as government authorities no longer list it as a center for drug treatment and Human Rights Watch understands it is not currently operating as such. In one case, testimony from a former detainee of Trong Diem has been included in this report to describe the experience of being held in a solitary confinement cell. Former detainees of other centers have confirmed the existence of these types of cells in centers other than the Trong Diem center.
Human Rights Watch uses the term detainees to refer to those who reported that they were detained against their will, as well as those who entered the centers on a voluntary basis. The term detainee is appropriate for those who enter on a voluntary basis because once inside the centers they are not free to leave. A high proportion of those who entered the centers on a voluntary basis subsequently had their detention extended without being offered an opportunity for release.
The word “child” is used in this report to refer to anyone under the age of 18. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines as a child “every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” Vietnam’s 2004 Law on Child Protection, Care and Education (Law on Child Protection) defines children as under 16 years of age, while Vietnam’s Civil Code (art. 20) defines a child as anyone under 18. Vietnam’s Penal Code of 1997 (revised in 1999) defines the age of criminal responsibility to be 14 (for criminal offenses) but 12 for administrative offenses. Vietnam’s Labor Law sets the minimum age for employment at 18; however, children as young as 15 can be employed under certain circumstances. Vietnam’s Law on Child Protection states in art. 2 that international law takes precedence over domestic in cases where national laws differ from international agreements that Vietnam has signed.
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