Cambodia Must Reduce Overcrowding at Jails Ripe For Coronavirus Outbreak: HRW

Cambodia’s government should take “urgent measures” to reduce the risk that the country’s “severely overcrowded” jails will suffer coronavirus outbreaks, a human rights group said over the weekend, calling on authorities to release prisoners at greater risk, as well as those detained for minor offenses.

The number of patients confirmed to have COVID-19—the disease caused by the coronavirus—held steady at 114 on Monday with no reported deaths for the third straight day in Cambodia, but New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned in a statement a day earlier that overcrowding in the country’s prisons risks “serious health consequences” for prisoners, prison staff, and the broader public.

It urged authorities to “immediately release people who should not be in custody,” including pretrial detainees held for minor offenses, and political prisoners. The group also recommended alternatives to detention for prisoners with underlying health conditions, older prisoners, and women who are pregnant or held with small children.

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