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MALAYSIA – No sanitation: Two Burmese die in immigration detention

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More than 110 organisations
called on the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to "immediately
commence a public inquiry" into the case of two Burmese migrants who died
in detention centre from leptospirosis. The disease, coming from water
contaminated by infected animals' urine, highlights the absence of sanitation
in the centre.
More than 110 organisations
called on the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to "immediately
commence a public inquiry" into the case of two Burmese migrants who died
in detention centre from leptospirosis. The disease, coming from water
contaminated by infected animals' urine, highlights the absence of sanitation
in the centre.

We, the undersigned, are alarmed to hear that Sa La Hin, 26,
and Thang Hoih Ping, 21, two Burmese migrants, have died in the Malaysia's
Juru Immigration Detention Centre from Leptospirosis. This is disease
that is usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine
of infected animals, such as rodents, cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and
wild animals. The fact, that 2 persons are dead and others have
been infected by this disease, again highlights the state of
hygiene, cleanliness and healthcare at Malaysian Detention
Centres.

We recall that it was reported in the media in December
2008, it was reported that "About 1,300 illegal foreigners have died
during detention in the past six years, Malaysia Nanban quoted
Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam
as saying. He said many of them died in immigration detention
centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical
treatment at the right time." [Star, 18/12/2008, '1,300 foreign detainees
died
due to neglect']. Now, Sa La Hin and Thang Hoih Ping may just be
the latest additions to that list of detainees that '…died due to
similar reasons.

We also recall the words ofย  SUHAKAM in their
response to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) dated 13/1/2009, that
correctly stated that "…SUHAKAM views the denial of medical attention to the
point of endangering one's life as a serious violation of that person's
right to life…"

These deaths may have been avoided if medical
attention was provided promptly, and we call for an independent public
inquiry to determine whether there was such negligence on the part of the
Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or better known as RELA (a People's Volunteer Corps),
and the Immigration officers, who are currently responsible for
Immigration Detention Centres in Malaysia.

To read the complete statement, please click here (.pdf).
To read the "Memorandum to
SUHAKAM on Poor Conditions of Immigration Detention Centres Contributing to the
Outbreak of Leptospirosis", please click here.