Jangkitan Covid-19 di pusat tahanan imigresen (Malay/English)

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Photo: Hasnoor Hussain/Al Jazeera

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (Edict) amat memandang serius terhadap keputusan ujian saringan Covid-19 ke atas 645 warga asing yang ditahan di Pusat Tahanan Imigresen Bukit Jalil.

Menurut laporan, seramai 35 orang tahanan telah disahkan positif Covid-19 manakala 210 orang tahanan masih menunggu keputusan dan 400 orang lagi disahkan negatif.

Edict ingin mengingatkan kerajaan bahawa kita adalah sebuah negara yang mendaulatkan undang-undang, dan para tahanan tersebut, walaupun mereka warga asing, mereka mesti dilayan dengan bermaruah dan pihak kerajaan mestilah bertanggungjawab terhadap kesihatan dan kesejahteraan mereka.

Edict difahamkan bahawa Jabatan Penjara – yang mempunyai kakitangan dan kemudahan yang dikatakan lebih baik – telah memberi isyarat pada 5 April dan meminta agar para pesalah perintah kawalan pergerakan tidak dihantar ke 39 penjara di bawah seliaannya.

Edict maklum mengenai tindakan kerajaan yang amat giat mencari dan menangkap warga asing yang disifatkan “tanpa dokumen”.

Edict telah berulang kali mengingatkan bahawa memenjarakan orang ramai semasa perintah kawalan pergerakan bukan langkah yang produktif kerana ia tidak mematuhi penjarakan sosial yang merupakan perkara yang penting dalam mengawal penyebaran Covid-19.

Edict menyedari bahawa keupayaan untuk berlakunya penyebaran Covid-19 oleh orang ramai yang tinggal bersama dan berdekatan antara satu sama lain perlu ditangani dengan baik dan berhati-hati.

Edict juga percaya bahawa sempadan negara mestilah dihormati dan penguatkuasaan undang-undang imigresen yang diiktiraf oleh Parlimen hendaklah dilaksanakan.

Edict walau bagaimanapun percaya bahawa “penyelesaian” dengan cara menangkap dan menempatkan mereka di dalam ruang yang lebih padat adalah tidak wajar dan tidak menunjukkan sikap penyayang rakyat Malaysia.

Edict menggesa kerajaan untuk mengeluarkan satu tatacara operasi standard (SOP), melengkapkan keperluan dan infrastruktur, memberikan latihan kepada pegawai penguatkuasa dan uji keberkesanan SOP tersebut, sebelum menguatkuasakan undang-undang.

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Edict menggesa kerajaan untuk menghentikan penahanan warga asing tanpa dokumen ke dalam pusat tahanan yang telah sedia padat.

Edict menggesa kerajaan untuk memaklumkan kepada masyarakat apakah tindakan yang telah kerajaan ambil untuk mengekang penyebaran Covid-19 di dalam pusat-pusat tahanan serta melaksanakan kewajipan untuk menjaga tahanan yang telah disahkan positif.

Edict amat mengambil berat mengenai kesejahteraan fizikal dan emosi para pegawai penguatkuasa dan semua pihak yang bertugas di dalam pusat tahanan, termasuk warden, penyedia perkhidmatan dan juga kakitangan perubatan.

Tanpa SOP yang jelas, menahan warga asing tanpa dokumen secara beramai-ramai akan mendedahkan kakitangan awam kepada ancaman bahaya yang juga boleh membawa kepada kematian.

Edict juga menggesa kerajaan untuk melakukan soal selidik ke atas tahanan-tahanan tersebut bagi mengenalpasti punca mereka berada di Malaysia secara tidak sah. Adalah tidak mustahil bahawa terdapat penglibatan pegawai kerajaan dalam memberi ruang bagi kemasukan mereka secara haram ke Malaysia.

Kehadiran sejumlah besar warga asing tanpa dokumen di Malaysia perlu dikendalikan dengan cermat. Isu ini mesti dikendalikan dengan peri kemanusiaan, mengikut undang-undang, tanpa mendedahkan kakitangan awam yang sudahpun dibebani dengan tanggungjawab terhadap risiko yang boleh dielakkan.

Punca utama kehadiran golongan warga asing tanpa dokumen juga perlu dikenalpasti.

English version

Covid-19 infections in immigration detention centres

Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (Edict) notes with grave concern the results of testing of 645 foreigners detained in the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre.

According to reports, 35 detainees have been confirmed positive for Covid-19, 210 detainees are awaiting results and 400 detainees tested negative.

Edict reminds the government that we are a nation under the rule of law and that detainees, even if they are foreigners, must be treated with dignity and that public officers are responsible for their health and wellbeing.

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Edict notes the Prisons Department – arguably with better staff and facilities – raised the alarm on 5 April and asked that movement control order violators not be sent to the 39 prisons it manages.

Edict notes that the government is actively rounding up and detaining foreigners whom it deems “undocumented”.

Edict has repeatedly warned that incarcerating persons during the movement control order is counterproductive as it violates the criterion of social distancing which is essential for controlling the spread of Covid-19.

Edict recognises that the potential for the spreading of Covid-19 by people who live in close quarters must be handled with great care. Edict also recognises that Malaysia’s national borders must be respected, and enforcement of immigration laws established by Parliament must be done.

Edict, however, believes that the “solution” of rounding them up and putting them in even more cramped quarters is counterproductive and runs counter to the caring spirit of Malaysians.

Edict calls upon the government to establish standard operating procedures, procure the necessary equipment and infrastructure, train enforcement personnel and test these procedures, before enforcing the law.

Edict calls upon the government to cease cramping undocumented foreigners in overcrowded centres.

Edict calls upon the government to tell the public what steps it has taken or is taking to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the detention centres and to fulfil its duty of care to the detainees who have tested positive.

Edict is deeply concerned about the physical and emotional welfare of enforcement officers and all persons who work in the detention centres, whether wardens, service providers or medical staff.

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Absent clear standard operating procedures, the sweeping up of undocumented workers exposes public officers to traumas, which may even lead to death.

Edict also calls upon the government to survey the detainees to establish why they are in Malaysia in contravention of the law. It is not impossible that public officers have been complicit in enabling their presence in Malaysia.

The presence of large numbers of undocumented workers in Malaysia must be handled with great care. It must be handled in a humane way, under the law, without exposing long-suffering public officers to avoidable risks.

The root causes of the presence of undocumented persons must be addressed.

22 May 2020

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