On September 9th 2011, in response to question about Human Rights Watch’s “The Rehab Archipelago: Forced Labor and Other Abuses in Drug Detention Centers in Southern Viet Nam” report released on September 7th 2011, Madam Nguyen Phuong Nga, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said:
The report, which has been released by Human Rights Watch, is groundless, distorting Viet Nam’s rehabilitation reality with ill intention.
Drug addiction results in negative consequences to community, society and particularly drug users’ mental and physical health, behavior and dignity. Therefore, compulsory rehabilitation is a humane treatment that helps those drug users who are unable to perform voluntary rehabilitation. Drug users are required to be isolated from community to keep them away from drugs, learn about harmful drug dependence, recover their health and working capability, reintegrate into community, find employment and resettle their life. Viet Nam’s approach is also in line with drug treatment principles of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), and World Health Organization (WHO).
Drug rehabilitation in Viet Nam is undertaken in accordance with the laws. According to Vietnamese laws, illegal drug use is not a crime but a violation of administrative laws and is regulated under administrative laws. Compulsory rehabilitation decisions are issued and implemented under a strict and objective administrative procedures which are closely scrutinized. In rehabilitation centers, all infringements of drug users’ health and dignity are prohibited by laws.
During compulsory rehabilitation, rights and obligations of drug users are fully guaranteed in accordance with the laws such as accommodation suitable to their age and gender, meeting relatives, medical care and treatment, financial assistance for drug treatment, educational and vocational training, work-based therapy, products and income generated from their work, right to lodging complaints and denunciations, etc. Juvenile drug users are eligible for other assistance in health care, education, vocational training, rehabilitation cost, etc.
Work-based therapy, which is a part of rehabilitation process, is aimed at helping drug users improve their health, life and professional skills, and understand value of working and responsibility for family and society.
As reality has shown over the past years, compulsory rehabilitation is a humane, effective and beneficial for drug users, community and society. Through medical, psychological, educational and work-based therapies, rehabilitation centers have provided treatment for tens of thousands of drug users annually, helping them get rid of drug, improve their health, regain dignity and get back to normal life. Drug relapse rate tends to decrease in Viet Nam.