Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Letter to SUHAKAM - Healthcare & Death of Migrants in Detention Centres

16th November, 2009

Level 29, Menara Tun Razak
Jalan Raja Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur

Dear Sir,

We have recently been informed that 2 Burmese Migrants, who were detained at the Lenggeng Detention Centre recently died at the Seremban Hospital by reason of disease. We seek clarification as to what was the said disease? Was it again Leptospirosis.

One of the deceased was allegedly Aung Myo Lwin [Camp Body Number: 22157], who died on 22/10/2009. Hospital did not say what disease he died from. He was buried on 29/10/2009. The other deceased was allegedly buried on 28/10/2009.

Please find enclosed also a Joint Statement of 21 organizations and groups, from all over the world, dated 25/9/2009, entitled “Leptospirosis Causes Death Of Another 6 Burmese In Detention In Malaysia - Denial Of Healthcare Is A Violation Of Right To Life”

We are concerned about the report of recent deaths of 6 migrants at the KL International Airport (KLIA) depot.

We note that this is the 2nd time that this is happening. In May 2009, 2 persons in the Juru Detention Centre, in Penang, Malaysia. We refer you to our earlier letter dated 25/5/2009, which also enclosed the Joint Statement of 113 organizations and groups, from all over the world, dated 23/5/2009, entitled “Death Of 2 Burmese Indicative Of State Of Detention Places In Malaysia - Denial Of Healthcare Is A Violation Of Right To Life” [To date, 127 organisations have endorsed this statement]

The statement speaks for itself, and if there is need for further information and clarification, feel free to contact us [Charles Hector ( or Pranom Somwong (Bee) ( at 019-237100/300]

Kindly acknowledge receipt, and we expect your response.

We note sadly that there was no response to our letter of 25/9/2009 to the Minister of Health, and wish to complain about the inaction and lack of response of the Minister of Health, and the government of Malaysia.

We would like to know whether there was an investigation conducted by the Ministry and/or its departments as cause of the contamination that resulted in the death by Leptospirosis.

We would also appreciate statistics as to the number of deaths of detainees in places of detention, and the causes of the deaths.

With regard to Leptospirosis, we would like the Malaysian statistics of persons infected by Leptospirosis and the number of deaths, and also the same statistics with regard to prisons, detention centers of undocumented migrants.

We would also like to know the steps being taken by the Government of Malaysia, your Ministry, the Public Health Department and/or other relevant bodies to ensure proper hygine, cleanliness, and most importantly how prompt and effective healthcare is to be provided at places of detention to prevent unnecessary deaths.

SUHAKAM has the requisite authority to visit places of detention, and to inquire into this matter. Attention is also drawn to the Aljazeera 101 East program that highlighted the bad conditions of Detention Centres for undocumented migrants that was screened on 15/11/2009.

It is time for SUHAKAM to hold a public inquiry, and to thereafter make concrete recommendations to the Malaysian government, and the relevant Ministries/Departments as to what need to do with regard to healthcare and the general state of detention places. The obligation to investigate root causes of diseases like Leptospirosis, and to do the needful to take action against those responsible for the conditions that led to inmates getting sick need to be stressed. The obligation of the Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Department to ensure continuous cleanliness and hygiene of places of detention must be stressed. The obligation to inform about the nature of the disease that has caused death to the deceased family/friends and the public should also be stressed.

We also would like SUHAKAM’s response and action with regard to this matter. We appreciate SUHAKAM’s letter dated 16/7/2009 in response to the Juru deaths.

A prompt response would be appreciated.

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of the organizations that have endorsed the said Statements.

Lot 3585A, Kampung Lubuk Layang,
Batu 3, Jalan Mentakab,
28000 Temerloh,
PAHANG, Malaysia
Tel: 019-2371 100/300

* Note a letter was also sent again to the Minister of Health, which was copied to the Prime Minisiter of Malaysia and SUHAKAM (Malaysia's Human Rights Commission)

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