JULY 13 ― Hakam strongly condemns the Immigration Department’s decision to detain PhD student and legal migrant Thomas Orhions Ewansiha for a maximum 14 days under the Immigration Act 1959/63. Mr Thomas’ status can be expeditiously cross-checked with existing systems and his university. Neither Mr Thomas’ alleged fleeing from the raid nor the need to verify his documents justify his remanding in detention for 14 days. It is clear that Mr Thomas’ right to bodily autonomy and liberty were arbitrarily infringed upon.
Hakam emphasises the imbalance of power between local authorities and migrants of all creeds in Malaysia. Migrants are often the victims of discrimination, are subject to racism, harassment, and stigmatisation. Mr Thomas was subject to discrimination when he was apprehended on the basis of his nationality and ethnicity in a raid specifically targeted against African migrants. The right to non-discrimination and freedom of movement must be upheld as universally for migrants as citizens of Malaysia.
Hakam further urges the Immigration Department of Malaysia to substantially improve detention conditions in prisons as well as for migrants in custody. There must be a robust overhaul of the standard operating procedure (SOP) and conditions of these detention centres in Malaysia. Migrants possess an inalienable right to life, right to health and to be treated with dignity in Malaysia.
Hakam also reiterates its support for the right of Nigerian students and migrants in Malaysia to lawful peaceful protest.
Hakam expresses its sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Mr Thomas and urges the Immigration Department of Malaysia to take measures to ensure that this unfortunate tragedy befalling Mr Thomas is not repeated again in the future.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.