Friday, April 2, 2010

AI turns spotlight on Nepalese migrants miseries in Malaysia

THT Online
KATHMANDU: The Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday expressed concern over the detention of Nepali migrant workers in Malasiya.

Issuing a press release, AI, the international human rights watchdog called for the protection of the human rights of the workers in the context of the arrest by the Malaysian authorities of around 140 migrant workers including Nepalese, Bangladeshis and Indonesians.

Citing news reports, the AI said that Malaysian authorities have arrested hundreds of migrants since the crackdown began at the end of February.

According to the AI, those arrested faced protected detention in overcrowded immigration detention centres. Migrants who are found to have violated the immigration laws are subject to be substantial fines, imprisonment and in some cases caning.

"According to the rights body, these migration raids sweep up documented as well as undocumented workers," director of policy at AI said, adding, "Regardless of immigration status, nobody should be subjected to arbitrary arrest or appalling detention conditions."

According to the press release, the employers routinely demand that workers turn over their passports, meaning that migrants who have authorisation to work in Malasiya often have only photocopies of their passport and work permit. Authorities frequently do not accept photocopied documents as proof of lawful status.

"Untrained volunteers with the People's Volunteer Corps (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or RELA) often participate in immigration raids. These volunteers are often unfamiliar with the documents they are examining, but they enjoy broad powers to enter private homes without warrants, question suspects and make arrests," the release stated.