Assessment of Compulsory Treatment of People Who Use Drugs in Cambodia, China, Malaysia and Viet Nam: Application of Selected Human Rights Principles


WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific

Publication details

Publication date: 2009
Price: US $ 10
ISBN: 9789290614173
Number of pages: 48



The human right to health is recognized in various binding and non-binding agreements under international law. It is universal, which implies that everybody--including people who use drugs--is entitled to this right.

Approximately 13 million people inject drugs worldwide. The largest number of people who use drugs can be found in Asia, where 4.85 million people were reported to inject drugs in 2008. In many parts of the world, national governments have focused their response on criminalizing drug-related activities. In some countries, the death penalty is applicable for drug trafficking. In others, people who use drugs are sent to compulsory drug treatment centres.

This report deals with compulsory drug treatment centres in four countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region, namely, China, Cambodia, Malaysia and Viet Nam. It describes the treatment and HIV-related interventions provided at the centres, and attempts to assess these from a human-rights based perspective, in particular the '3AQ' criteria (of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality) and the principles of equality and non-discrimination, participation and accountability.