Calls for Action

Urgent Alert: Stop Crackdown on Migrants and Refugees in Malaysia

by Tenaganita

The mass arrests & detention of migrants, refugees and stateless persons in Malaysia has begun.

Four million Malaysians have been mobilized to seek out, arrest, detain and deport any migrant found to be undocumented in Malaysia. Out of this, 2.8 million are ordinary citizens with no proper training (RELA Volunteer Corp), while the remaining 1 million are Immigration officers, police, the military and other enforcement agencies.

Key concerns:

· Detention and deportation of refugees, stateless persons, trafficked victims & other vulnerable populations including children

· Use of violence by enforcement officers during raids, arrests & detention

· Violation of rights during arrests & detention: i.e. no access to lawyers, phone call to family, deprivation of basic needs, etc.

In order to monitor and respond to this crackdown, several hotline numbers have been set up:

· Tenaganita (temporary hotline) : · +6-012-339 5350 · +6-012-335 0512

· MSRI (hotline for refugees & asylum seekers): +6-012-6628483

· SUARAM: +6-03-7784 3525

Please send information about raids, rights violations during this crackdown or any other relevant information to: raidwatch[at]gmail.com

Media contact: Irene Fernandez (Tenaganita): irene.f[at]tenaganita.net +6-012-316 3011

Background

The arrest, detention & deportation of undocumented migrants is the final phase of the Malaysian government’s Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme (6P Programme, “6P”). In spite of the Secretary-General of the Home Ministry, Tan Sri Mahmood Adam’s declaration that the deadline for the 6P has been extended to April 10 2012, we have already started receiving reports of arrests and detention.

On 11th of February, we were informed by refugees and members of the public that a raid was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, during which between 100 to 200 migrants and refugees were detained. We are aware that some refugees were taken to detention centres, while the whereabouts of others are currently unknown.

In previous Immigration crackdowns (2005; 2008) there was high use of violence against the migrants, migrants were not granted access to a phone call, or to lawyers; we fear that similar (if not worse) rights violations will also take place during this crackdown.

We are also especially concerned for the lives of refugees & stateless persons (who remain ‘illegal’ under Malaysian law) and for victims of trafficking who will be arrested, detained and run the risk of deportation during this crackdown. We are not aware of any processes in place to protect these populations, and the refugees who are still in detention after being arrested on the 11th is a reminder of these real threats.

In order to protect the rights and lives of migrants and refugees, we call on all parties to be vigilant and assist us in monitoring and responding to this crackdown.

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