ILLUS When we resist, officers hit us with 1-metre long wooden truncheons

10th October 2011

The Australian government wants Vietnam to close forced-labor camps disguised as drug rehab camps, which a Human Rights Watch report recently brought to light. And responding to CPVW’s representations, a government MP wrote to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd urging an investigation of the camps, which receive Australian foreign aid.

In a letter dated 06th October, Australia’s aid agency AusAID told CPVW that Australia “is of the view that drug detention centres are ineffective in the treatment of people who inject drugs .. The Australian Government is continuing to urge Vietnam to close these centres”


AusAID continues: “Our [aid] programs help the people in the centres, not the centres themselves”. The Vietnamese authorities do not seem to share this fine distinction, having built more camps – from 56 in 2001 to 123 today, housing 40,000. Human Rights Watch, in a recent report, wrote that by giving aid, donors assist the Vietnamese authorities to keep victims in the camps for longer and increase profit from their free labor.

CPVW is asking that these forced labor camps be closed and victims compensated. Please join our online campaign here to save these 40,000 victims.

Also writing “these centres receive large amounts of funding from various donors including Australia’s AusAID”, government MP Chris Hayes wrote to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on 29th September asking him “to conduct further investigations into drug rehabilitation centres in Vietnam and whether they have been disguised as forced labor centres.”

“I am advised that people are forced by the government to work for little or no pay and are beaten with clubs, forced to kneel on sharp stones, denied foods or held in isolation cells when these targets are not met. .. these centres are disguised as providing treatment for drug users but most of the victims are brought in on the basis of a single positive urine test or are picked up in street sweeps, become detainees, forced to stay for up to 5 years without ever receiving a hearing”

A large international outcry is needed before the Vietnamese authorities would free the 40,000 forced-labor victims. Please join our online campaign here.


– Download Human Rights Watch’s 127-page report “Rehab Archipelago”, dated 7th September 2011

– Download CPVW’s 4-page doc of highlights from HRW’s report

– To obtain the text of AusAID’s and MP Chris Hayes’s letters, please contact us