Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN) and Fortify Rights on Tuesday said the government of Malaysia should end arbitrary arrests and detention of refugees and migrants.
RWDN and Fortify Rights interviewed 13 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia who described the ongoing risk of arrest and the effects of restrictions on movement and access to livelihoods.
“Malaysia should stop arresting and detaining all refugees,” said Sharifah Shakirah, founder and Director of RWDN in Malaysia.
“Instead, the government should provide basic protections to refugees and migrants during this global crisis to prevent the spread of the virus.”
On June 14, the Malaysian Health Ministry reported that a 67-year-old man from India died on June 12 from COVID-19 at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Center (IDC), located outside of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The ministry reports at least 735 cases of COVID-19 in IDCs across Malaysia.
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On June 14, Health Director-General Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah reported the death during a press briefing, saying: “He was found unconscious at the center . . . He was confirmed dead on Friday [June 12] and a COVID-19 test returned positive.”
During an earlier press briefing on May 26, Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah acknowledged the IDCs as “high-risk areas” for the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the heightened risk of COVID-19 transmissions in detention facilities—both to detainees and staff members—Malaysian authorities continue to arrest and detain refugees and migrants.
The Malaysian authorities have denied the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—the U.N. agency mandated to protect refugees—access to Malaysia’s detention centers since August 2019.
Malaysian authorities rounded up and detained thousands of other refugees and migrants during a series of immigration raids starting on May 1 within designated Enhanced Movement Control (EMCO) areas. EMCOs are areas where a high number of COVID-19 cases have been reported.
Jul 12, 2020Staff Reporter The suffering of hundreds of thousands Rohingyas living in the settlement camps in Cox’s Bazar continues due to non-stop rainfall for more than five days, posing challenges for the administration to deal with the situation. Concerned government officials in Cox’s Bazar also told Mercy Correspondence that the government was responding to the situation […]