A total of 43 workers admitted to experiencing violence and inhuman treatment while detained at the Malaysian Immigration Detention Center before being returned to Indonesia. Of these, 2 of them are still children. The 43 workers are part of the 1082 workers who have been sent home by ship KM Kalia during the period June-September 2020.
"The deportants experienced long trauma because of the inhuman treatment," said Musdalifah Jamal as the coalition coordinator when submitting the report via the Zoom online meeting application, Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
This condition is stated in the report by the Fact Finding Team on cases of violence against Indonesian migrant workers at the Immigration Detention Center, Sabah, Malaysia. The 44-page report highlights the injuries to returned migrant workers.
As the person in charge of the team in Indonesia, Musdalifah discovered three problems when the deportants arrived in Indonesia. First, there is poor inter-governmental coordination. Second, health service facilities for workers are still minimal, and finally the shelter provided by the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) has exceeded capacity.
"Until we have to use boarding rooms and school facilities to accommodate," said Musdalifah.
According to him, the government does not understand the conditions of migrant workers who are deported as victims of violence. As a result, the government left the government untouched with health services and special treatment for deportants who had psychological problems.
"This fact has shown that the government has failed to protect and respect the rights of Indonesian migrant workers," he said.
Meanwhile, based on the search for information in Sabah, the team discovered several problems faced by migrant workers. First, the principles and minimum standards of a fair trial are not fulfilled.
The Head of the Fact-Finding Team Abu Mufakir explained that all migrant workers interviewed did not have the right to be prosecuted fairly. Their arrests were carried out on the principle of presumption of guilt, they were also forced to admit their guilt before a panel of judges at the Malaysian court, so they did not get a copy of the legal documents after being declared acquitted.
"In fact, none of the deportants are accompanied by legal advisors," said Abu Mufakir.
Second, workers detained in immigration detention are subject to inhuman treatment. When workers make small mistakes such as miscalculating, being noisy, not wearing clothes when the officers arrive, Abu explained, they will be punished by climbing iron trellises, squatting for hours, and getting beaten with a stick.
"These incidents occur regularly, systematically and massively," said Abu.
Third, the workers' valuables such as gold, money, and cell phones were often seized by officers. These items are not even returned when the migrant workers are returned to Indonesia.
Fourth, conditions in immigration detention are far from the appropriate category. One block measuring 10 × 15 meters, for example, is filled with 200 prisoners. Not to mention dirty water and is often used as drinking water. As a result, workers often experience illness, scabies, irritation, and acute infections, and some are even found dead in the prisoner.
"Detention facilities do not have special needs for women, pregnant women, and children," said Abu.
Finally, the team found that there were protracted detention of migrant workers. Workers are normally detained for two months and then returned to their country of origin, but in many cases the detention period is extended to 12 months.
According to Abu, this was due to the administrative affairs between Indonesia and Malaysia which were concerned with pagebluk affairs. Indonesia, said Abu, asked to be detained first due to pandemic conditions, while the Malaysian side wanted workers to be sent home immediately.
"This results in the deprivation of freedom for no reason," he said.
The bad condition reported by the Fact Finding Team, continued Abu, was only an iceberg. He believes that this incident has been taking place regularly for years without any firm action against the perpetrators and service improvements.
"The perpetrators are left out of the reach of the law," he said.
To break the chain of violent practices, the team recommends that the government of Sabah, Malaysia stop arbitrary justice, ask to improve health conditions in immigration detention according to the minimum standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), eliminate the practice of torture in immigration detention, and carrying out a series of investigations into perpetrators of violence in detention and punishing perpetrators in order to end impunity.
"Then reform the legal system to stop the criminalization of undocumented migrant workers," said Abu Mufakir.
The coalition also requested that the Indonesian government be more serious in dealing with the mass return of migrant workers. Apart from paying attention to the aspect of legal protection, the government is also asked to provide healing for workers who have experienced severe trauma due to violence experienced in immigration detention.
"The Indonesian government is in Sabah to provide legal aid services for Indonesian Migrant Workers who experience legal cases," said Musdalifah.
The National Human Rights Commission and the Malaysian Commission on Human Rights said they would follow up on the findings of the fact-finding team. Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam said that his party would use the findings of the coalition as a basis for examining in more detail the conditions of workers in Indonesia and in Malaysia.
"We will coordinate so that there is a joint investigation and there are joint recommendations for Indonesia and Malaysia. This will be something good, ”said Choirul Anam when responding to the coalition's report through the Zoom application, Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
Previously, said Choirul Anam, his party had already conducted a temporary investigation in Makassar. Based on preliminary findings, one of the things that Komnas HAM has highlighted is the weakness of legal aid provided by the Indonesian government in Malaysia.
"Indonesia needs to issue a policy on how to respond to this (violence-ed) properly," he said.
Meanwhile, member of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, Jerald Joseph welcomed the invitation to a joint investigation with Komnas HAM. According to him, the two countries must find joint solutions to resolve cases of suspected violence of migrant workers in temporary detention or immigration depots both during Covid-19 and before the pandemic.
Jerald admitted that the temporary detention provided by the Malaysian government was in inhuman conditions. This was exacerbated by the findings of the coalition which reported inadequate provision of food, drink and health facilities.
"We agree with you that it (the prisoners) is overcrowded," said Jerald Joseph, Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
According to him, the events experienced by workers in immigration detention are not in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). One of the benchmarks is the cleanliness and maintenance of facilities, the prioritization of security, and respect for human rights.
The neighboring country, said Jerald, should be able to guarantee workers' rights as citizens. This is because it is in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states the inherent rights of all human beings, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, language, and religion.
“No human being should be treated in a degrading treatment. Either those with or without documents. We are all human beings and we have our human rights and dignity, ”said Jerald. (Abdus Somad)