Friday, September 25, 2009

Exposure to water contaminated by animal urine kills 6 Burmese Migrants in Detention in Malaysia

Joint Statement - 25/9/2009



We are shocked and disappointed to hear that another six Burmese migrants have died while in detention in Malaysia because of a suspected waterborne disease. Leptospirosis is caused by exposure to water contaminated by animal urine, like rat urine. (Straits Times, 25/9/2009, Migrants die in detention/ Associated Press, 24/9/2009).

From our investigation, the names of 3 of those who have died are So Thein [Prison Body number 0853, Block B1, Ethnicity: Burman, Age: 36], Min Khaing [Body number 5009, Ethnicity: Karen, Age: 23] and Min Nown [Ethnicity: Arkan, Age: 28]. The other 3 are of Chin ethnicity. It seems that the deaths happened in August.

This time the deaths seem to have occurred at the Detention Centre at the KL International Airport (KLIA) depot. The Straits Times report states that an official had informed them that ‘…the detainees likely contracted the disease in another centre. They were transferred together with some 700 others after a riot there...’. In an earlier report (Star, 24/7/2009), it was stated that ‘…some 700 Myanmar illegal immigrants involved in a ruckus at the Semenyih immigration depot early this month have been moved to the department’s KL International Airport (KLIA) depot…’

It must be noted that this is not the first case of death by reason of Leptospirosis. Sa La Hin, 26, and Thang Hoih Ping, 21, two Burmese migrants, died in the Malaysia’s Juru Immigration Detention Centre from Leptospirosis in May 2009. 127 civil society groups and organizations responded vide a joint statement entitled ‘Death Of 2 Burmese Indicative Of State Of Detention Places In Malaysia - Denial Of Healthcare Is A Violation Of Right To Life’.

Complaints were also lodged with the Malaysia’s Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak,, Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, and the Minister of Health Dato' Sri Liow Tiong Lai,

After that Leptospirosis outbreak in the Juru Detention Centre in Penang in May, the Immigration Director-General Abdul Rahman assured us that the cleanliness and hygiene at immigration depots nationwide will be stepped-up to ensure safety of staff and inmates there against contracting infectious diseases (Bernama, 19/5/2009).

SUHAKAM also vide letter dated 16/7/2009 had informed us that they had met with the Director General of Immigration on 4/6/2009, and amongst others, had recommended that ‘… as a measure to control contagious diseases to ensure that all immigration detention centres should have a doctor or medical officer in line with international requirements, and that cleanliness of detention centres should be taken care of.’

It must also be borne in mind that last year SUHAKAM identified medical care as an overriding reason why 1,300 detainees have died over the past six years, and had made recommendations to the government. At present the 22 centres throughout Malaysia do not have a permanent clinical dispensary manned by doctors or a medical assistant to help detainees. (ABC News, 28/5/2009)

In May 2009, it was reported that about 26 were admitted to hospital following a Leptospirosis outbreak in the Juru Detention Centre, and they survived, and this leads us to believe that prompt access to healthcare can avoid death. It is shocking that in this recent case, 6 have died. What is more disturbing is that there seem to have been no reported disclosure by the Malaysian authorities on this. We still do not know the number of detainees that have been affected this time.

This is a disease caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, and is very rarely propagated through contact with affected persons. Question must be raised as to how detainees in an enclosed detention centre are contracting this disease. Are they being affected through the food and water supplied by the detention centres? Are the detention centres having a rat infestation problem?

After the recent deaths and outbreak in the Juru Detention Centre, one would have expected the Malaysian government to have taken immediate steps to ensure that there are no more cases of Leptospirosis outbreak and deaths. We wonder also whether the authorities took a lackadaisical attitude, and did not even conduct a thorough investigation to determine the source of the contamination that caused that outbreak. Results of such investigations will not only determine liability, but would also ensure that further deaths from Leptospirosis could be avoided.

We, the undersigned, call on the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to immediately commence a public inquiry into these deaths and detention places generally, and come up with concrete recommendations which could be implemented that will improve state of cleanliness, hygiene and healthcare of all detention places in Malaysia. It was sad that SUHAKAM decided not to carry out a public inquiry after the Juru deaths in May.

We are also call upon the Ministry of Health and the government of Malaysia to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this Leptospirosis outbreak, which is reported to have already resulted in 6 deaths.

We also call for the resignation of Immigration Director-General Abdul Rahman, considering that this is second reported case of deaths by reason of Leptospirosis at Immigration Detention Centres within the last 4 months.

The Malaysian government must take necessary action to ensure that proper steps be taken so that such disregard for life does not happen again.

With regard to those who have died, their family and/or dependents should be given adequate compensation by the persons responsible, the detaining authority and the Malaysian government.

Officers and persons responsible for the acts or omissions that resulted in death and suffering should be charged and prosecuted for these crimes. They should not be permitted to hide behind safeguards provided to public servants, which unfortunately only promotes culture of impunity with no sense of responsibility and respect for human life.

Charles Hector

Pranom Somwong

Tun Tun

For and on behalf of the 23 organizations/groups listed below:-

Asian Migrant Centre (AMC)

Burma Campaign, Malaysia

Clean Clothes Campaign -International Secretariat

Coordination of Action Research on AIDS & Mobility (CARAM -Asia)

FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights

Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization (Cambodia)

Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW) Cambodia

MADPET (Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture)

MAP Foundation, Thailand

Mekong Migration Network (MMN)

Mekong Ecumenical Partnership Program-MEPP

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

National League for Democracy [NLD (LA)], Malaysia

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)

Nepal Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) Nepal

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor

Persatuan Masyarakat Malaysia & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

Pusat Komas

The Shan Refugee Organization (SRO) Malaysia

Thai Action Committees for Democracy in Burma (TACDB)

The Action Network for Migrants (ANM) Thailand

Workers Hub for Change (WH4C)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Home Minister sad about person shot dead by Indonesian police... what about when persons shot dead by Malaysian police?

I am amazed at how our Home Minister is so concerned about that 'shoot to kill' incident of a Malaysian in Indonesia. How he laments about what happened...stating that it could have been handled differently - i.e. that he could have been rehabilitated. (All this is according to the Star Report)

Is it not hypocritical that this same Minisiter, who is responsible for the Malaysian police, do not seem to have expressed similar sentiments when Malaysian police have killed so many in 'shoot to kill'. Surely, those alleged criminals shot dead by Malaysian police could also be rehabilitated...

Terrorist Noor­din Md Top, who was shot dead by Indonesian police, could have been rehabilitated.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hisha­mmuddin Tun Hussein said he was sad to hear about the death.

“What he did was wrong. We don’t condone what he did. I am sad that we did not get to rehabilitate him, like we have done with many others, including Jemaah Islamiah militants.

“I am sad because a life is a life,” he told reporters after watching personnel from the police, Rela, Civil Defence Department and Rescue and Safety Department carry out Ops Sikap at the Jalan Duta toll here.

Noordin, a militant mastermind who eluded capture for nine years and terrorised Indonesia with a string of deadly bombings, was killed during a shoot-out in central Indonesia yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the Government would help Noordin’s family bring the body back after the authorities completed their investigations.

He said Noordin’s identity had been confirmed through a fingerprint check but a DNA test would be conducted to verify the result.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia had cooperated with all parties, including Indonesia, in cross-border crime, but added that Malaysia had no part in yesterday’s raid. - Star, 18/9/2009, Hisham: Noordin could have been rehabilitated

And, what rehabilitation is our Home Minister talking about? If he is talking about detaining them under the ISA or other detention without trial law...surely that is certainly not 'rehabilitation' - but torture...and a violation of human rights. Detaining persons without even giving them a chance to defend themselves in an open trial is very wrong.

If one is interested in rehabilitation, then you must first give the person a fair trial, and after he pleads guilty...or is found guilty after a trial ...then, you can start your process of rehabilitation, and that too if the said person want you to do so.

It is also very wrong to brand people as criminals or terrorists... for all is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Star is wrong in using the term "Terrorist Noor­din Md Top" - and rightly should use the term 'suspected terrorist' or 'alleged terrorist'.

I hope our Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hisha­mmuddin Tun Hussein, will also have similar sentiments when persons are shot dead by Malaysian police. In fact, it would be good to hear the Minister publicly call upon the Malaysian police to try to arrest persons alive...

Some incidents of 'shoot to kill' reported in the media that I saw in August 2009...

24/8/2009 - Star, 24/8/2009, Four Indonesian robbers killed by police

21/8/2009 - Star, 21/8/2009, Two robbers shot dead in Klang

11/8/2009 - - Star, 11/8/2009, Four wanted Indonesians killed by police

See earlier post - Another 'shoot to kill' incident - 4 killed.Yahoo has this question now that need answers: Do you agree that Malaysian police tends to shoot to kill?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Proof that the Malaysian police can also shoot, injure and arrest - without killing them all.

If the police, want to they can shoot people in the legs, etc....and arrest them. There really is no necessity of shooting them dead.

Man shot for threatening police with parang

KUCHING: A 38-year-old man was detained on Thursday after he evaded being checked by police.

A police car was patrolling along Batu 5 along Jalan Penrissen when they asked a Proton Wira driver to pull over.

But the man just drove away, prompting the police to give chase.

Somewhere along the way, a male passenger got off the Wira. Police went on pursuing the Wira.

Subsequently, more police cars joined in the pursuit as the driver headed towards Jalan Stapok Utama.

There, the suspect lost control of his car and crashed into a monsoon drain.

As police tried to apprehend the suspect, he wielded a parang threatening the police officers.

Police fired a warning shot but the man ignored it.

The police then shot the man’s leg.

After that, the suspect was taken to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).

Police discovered three laptop computers, a mobile phone, and a ‘parang’ in the car apart from a car plate number, which the police believed belonged to another car.- Borneo Post Online, 12/9/2009, Man shot for threatening police with parang

See earlier post - Another 'shoot to kill' incident - 4 killed. Yahoo has this question now that need answers: Do you agree that Malaysian police tends to shoot to kill?

Some of the more recent shoot to kill incidents that got reported in the media, and came to my attention..

24/8/2009 - Star, 24/8/2009, Four Indonesian robbers killed by police

21/8/2009 - Star, 21/8/2009, Two robbers shot dead in Klang

11/8/2009 - - Star, 11/8/2009, Four wanted Indonesians killed by police