Malaysia detains over 1,000 migrants in latest lockdown raid

WION Web Team
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Published: May 12, 2020, 06:06 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Malaysia Photograph:( Reuters )

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People from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh were rounded up in an area near a large market just outside the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the Immigration Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Malaysia has detained 1,368 undocumented migrants in an area under coronavirus-enforced lockdown in a raid.

People from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh were rounded up in an area near a large market just outside the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the Immigration Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The raid happened despite fears the crackdown could push vulnerable people into hiding and increase the risk of coronavirus infection in overcrowded detention centres. Also, last week, the United Nations had urged Malaysia to avoid detaining migrants and release all children and their caregivers, warning that packed detention centres heightened infection risks.

The raid on Monday included 261 women and 98 children. The migrants' offences included lacking proper identification, overstaying, and holding false papers.

The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) said many of those arrested on Monday were asylum-seekers not formally registered by the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR.

With 6,742 cases and 109 deaths, Malaysia eased movement curbs earlier this month but has kept tight restrictions on several areas where there have been new outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

Around the world, migrants have been particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. In neighbouring Singapore, thousands of infections have been linked to migrant worker dormitories.

Also read | Singapore to test all migrant workers living in dormitories for coronavirus

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