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Rights in rehab: a study in Nepal

In many countries, People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) lack access to drug treatment. And the quality of rehabilitation services is frequently not up to international standards. What is worse, anecdotal evidence from Nepal includes punitive approaches and human rights violations in rehabilitation centres. Based on these signals, a study was set up to systematically collect evidence of the situation in 85 rehabilitation centres across Nepal. 

The study included 85 focus group discussions, 38 interviews with key informants, 85 (observational) interviews with treatment providers and 8 stakeholder interviews. 


Although there were many differences across treatment centres, the study revealed serious human rights violations. These ranged from a failure to provide clients with their basic needs to violence and – in extreme cases – even to torture. In many centres, the quality of services was found to be substandard and proper client follow-up is often lacking.

The research urges the Government of Nepal to take leadership, to steer towards national protocols and guidelines, to regularly monitor services and to allow civil society access to rehabilitation centres, allowing them to serve as watchdogs.

This study resulted from a unique collaboration between the Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs, the umbrella organisation for Rehabilitation centres in Nepal (FDDR), service provider Youth Vision and Mainline. 


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