KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) stands ready to support the government-led of the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) pilot programme for children in immigration detention.

In a Twitter post today, Unicef Malaysia (@myUNICEF) said it was the first step towards developing alternatives to child immigration detention in Malaysia.

“In line with the CRC (the Convention on the Rights of the Child), immigration detention is never in the best interests of the child. Unicef stands ready to support the government-led ATD pilot for children in immigration detention as the first step towards developing alternatives to child immigration detention in Malaysia,” it said.

The tweet came in response to the United Nations in Malaysia’s (@UNinMalaysia) earlier post on the incident at Sungai Bakap Temporary Detention Centre.

“We are deeply saddened over the loss of lives following yesterday’s reported escape of hundreds of individuals from Sungai Bakap Temporary Detention Centre. We call for everyone to make the utmost effort to protect the lives and preserve the dignity of all involved, including children,” it tweeted.

In the 4.30am incident yesterday, 528 Rohingya detainees escaped from the depot following a riot.  Six of them died when hit by a vehicle while crossing KM 168 of the PLUS Highway heading south near Jawi, Penang. — Bernama