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Human Rights Watch claims abuses taking place in Immigration detention centres

March 6, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

PETALING JAYA: Human rights violations and abuses are taking place in Malaysian Immigration detention centres, claims Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a recent report.


HRW said in its interview-based report that Immigration depots have turned into a centre where abuses such as forced squats, push-ups as well as officers forcing detainees to hold stress positions occurred.


A former detainee also told of instances where people could get beaten up when asked for more food, blankets or taking an extra mug of water.


HRW also claimed that these centres had deplorable conditions devoid of medical care and added that detainees are subject to torture and prolonged physical abuse, which has led to several deaths.

It said female detainees were strip-searched and forced to do squats.


"There are 1,400 children detained at the centres, with the majority of them unaccompanied or separated from their families. Those who gave birth remained detained with their newborns without postpartum care or basic necessities," added HRW.


The report also recorded allegations of torture, where one migrant worker claimed that he and few others were assaulted with bricks and batons by officers when they tried to escape.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it had been denied access to the detention centres since 2019 which has prevented a review of asylum claims.


Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had in last month said Malaysia had no objections in allowing UNHCR to visit the detention centres, adding that an agreement had been reached in an earlier discussion.


HRW, among others, has recommended urgent action from the government, including improving conditions, releasing refugees and creating community-based alternatives to detention.


"All children should be released and allowed to attend school while awaiting to be settled," it added.


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