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Saifuddin questions rights group's claim on children held at immigration depots
Published on: Wednesday, March 06, 2024
By: FMT
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Saifuddin questions rights group's claim on children held at immigration depots
Home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail says Human Rights Watch must provide details of the specific immigration detention centres involved in its recent report.
PETALING JAYA: Home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail today questioned the credibility of a claim by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that more than 1,400 children are being held at 20 immigration detention centres (IDCs) nationwide.

Saifuddin said the claim was new to him and urged the organisation to specify the locations of the IDCs where the reported child detentions took place, Sinar Harian reported.

“What are their sources? Where did these so-called incidents happen? Where were these incidents reported?” he was quoted as saying.

“They (HRW) can’t simply do that (make claims). We have 19 immigration depots, and I know the exact number of children in each of them.”

The HRW report, released earlier today, claimed that more than 1,400 children were detained at depots, with two-thirds of them unaccompanied or separated from their families.

The report also alleged that children were being held with adults who were not blood relatives.

On the claim of detainees being forced to live in squalor, Saifuddin said there were no such issues at the IDCs.

He said congestion at IDCs was only experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic when detainees could not be repatriated to their home countries.

“At present, there are 19 depots with 13,000 occupants. Where is the congestion? There is none,” he said.

He added that foreign nationals detained at immigration depots undergo document verification, and those with valid documents are released.

“There are currently many raids being done, but upon examination, we found that about 80% of detainees were properly documented, and only about 20% were undocumented and thus detained,” he said.

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