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SUHAKAM raises serious concerns over immigration facility

Graphic: Tanah Merah Immigration Depot

Detainees at the Tanah Merah Immigration Depot are being held in unacceptable conditions, SUHAKAM reported after conducting a monitoring visit.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) says detainees at the Tanah Merah Immigration Depot are being held in unacceptable conditions, with poor sanitation and inadequate medical care of most pressing concern.

An inspection team, led by Commissioner Jerald Joseph, visited the centre on 23 August and found that two of the three main blocks made of wooden structures were "dilapidated".

"To make matters worse, the conditions were unsanitary and the blocks were poorly maintained. Owing to the lack of sufficient ventilation, the blocks were unbearably hot and foul smelling," SUHKAM said in a statement.

The inspection team found that almost all wall fans installed for ventilation purposes were not working and that toilet conditions were "wholly unacceptable", with all five toilets in one complex blocked and not functioning.

SUHAKAM said many of the detainees also complained of health problems, including scabies, back pains and stomach pains.

Given the number of detainees and the severity of their health problems, SUHAKAM recommended that the current placement of an assistant medical officer be immediately replaced with a medical officer.

It noted that the extremely poor conditions of the facility meant that staff also faced serious health problems

"It is SUHAKAM's view that the poor conditions may further contribute to mental health concerns of both detainees and staff."

SUHAKAM also raised concerns about the complete lack of an outdoor recreation area for detainees, saying the psychological impact of the detention conditions was apparent to its delegation.

"SUHAKAM will continue to monitor and review all places of detention with our inspections underpinned by universal human rights standards.

"In this regard, SUHAKAM looks forward to working with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration Department, as well as UNHCR and civil society organizations, as we continue to develop recommendations for improvements to the immigration system to ensure that detainees' human rights are protected throughout the detention process."

Date: 13 September 2017

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia


Image credits

  1. Tanah Merah Immigration Depot - Google World View