Stop Immigration Raids against Migrant Workers in Sabah, Malaysia

Stop Immigration Raids against Migrant Workers in Sabah, Malaysia

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Koalisi Buruh Migran Indonesia (KBMB) started this petition to Jabatan Imigresen Sabah and

Thousands of migrant workers and their families live in fear of raids. They hide in the oil palm plantation over the night to avoid the raid. On 4 and 5 August 2021, the Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) in Sabah conducted an operation to arrest migrant workers in two different locations in the middle of the night. During the operation, 155 migrant workers and their families were arrested, 67 of whom were women and 39 children. These operations are just examples of the wave of raids against undocumented migrants that have taken place since the beginning of the pandemic. Thousands of Indonesian and Filipino migrants have been arrested in large-scale immigration operations in Sabah, Malaysia. In 2020 alone, 12,800 undocumented migrants were arrested and detained in overcrowded immigration detention centers.


In fact, during the two years of the pandemic, even thousands of documented migrant workers have been forced to become undocumented. This is because they are not able to renew their work permits due to immigration offices being temporarily closed during the pandemic. However, JIM Sabah is increasingly taking up various arrest operations. They argue that the arrest of thousands of undocumented migrant workers is one of the necessary responses to control the transmission of Covid-19. 


Based on the report of the Fact-Checking Team of the Sovereign Migrant Workers (KBMB) regarding the condition of deported Indonesian migrant workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic from Sabah to Indonesia, they live in an overcrowded detention center which puts them at a high risk of contracting the virus. Consequently, they do not only suffer physically but also mentally. This condition gets worse as the detention center does not provide an inclusive or women-friendly facility. Woman migrant worker says, “when the detention centers are contracting Covid-19, we are sprayed with disinfectant every day. All over our bodies are wet from a high-pressure disinfectant spray. We are not allowed to change our clothes, we should keep wearing them until they dry. They said it’s to kill the bacteria. Yet it left us dizzy.”  


In reality, these various arrest operations have not been able to reduce the number of Covid-19 transmission cases. The daily number of cases continued to rise until this petition was written. Instead, various clusters of Covid-19 transmission have emerged in different immigration detention centers. From the data we collected through Newslab, as of 10 August 2021 there have been at least 14 Covid transmission clusters taken place in temporary detention centers in Sabah, with 6,518 confirmed cases, 1,431 of which are still being treated. The more frequent the immigration raids have taken up against the migrants, the more clusters of Covid transmission at temporary detention centers will be.This fact has been shown repeatedly in Sabah and it could backfire the effort to control the spread of Covid-19.

 

JIM Sabah must immediately stop all operations to arrest undocumented migrants. In this pandemic situation, arresting migrants and their children, the elderly, and women and detaining them in overcrowded temporary detention centers is a heinous act, demeaning to humanity, and an attack on marginalized people that need help the most during the pandemic. 


Migrant workers and their families who have lived for generations have an invaluable contribution to the Sabah economy. It is through their sweat and blood that 1.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations in Sabah have been able to continue to operate. During this difficult time, they should receive equal treatment, support, protection, and health services as other citizens do, rather than become targets of arrest and detention. 


Through this petition we urge the Sabah authorities to immediately:

  1. Stop all forms of arrest against undocumented migrants, including children, women, and the elderly;
  2. Accelerate and expand the implementation of vaccinations for migrants without administrative requirements and immigration documents;
  3. Speed up the deportation process to prevent overcrowded detention centers and cramped conditions for detained migrants;
  4. Provide immigration services that are more accessible, affordable, fast, and safe for migrant workers;
  5. Implement an amnesty/remission program for undocumented migrant workers, including adopting a federal recalibration program;
  6. Prioritize the responsibility to respect, fulfill, protect the human rights of the migrant workers including their health rights, over the repressive approach

(Bahasa Indonesia Version)

Hentikan Razia Pekerja Migran di Sabah, Malaysia


Ribuan buruh migran dan keluarganya mengalami ketakutan karena operasi penangkapan yang membuat mereka harus bersembunyi di hutan-hutan sawit di kala malam hari. Gelombang razia terhadap migran tak berdokumen berlangsung sejak awal pandemi seperti operasi tengah malam pada tanggal 4 dan 5 Agustus 2021. Jawatan Imigrasi Malaysia (JIM) Sabah menangkap 155 pekerja migran bersama keluarganya, 67 diantaranya adalah perempuan dan 39 anak-anak. Sepanjang 2020, 12,877 migran tak berdokumen asal Indonesia dan Filipina telah ditangkap dan ditahan di pusat tahanan imigrasi yang penuh sesak.

Padahal sepanjang dua tahun pandemi, ribuan buruh migran yang berdokumen sekalipun, terpaksa menjadi tidak berdokumen. Hal ini karena permit kerja mereka yang gagal diperbaharui akibat kantor-kantor imigrasi yang seringkali  tutup di masa pandemi. Namun JIM Sabah semakin gencar melakukan berbagai operasi penangkapan ribuan buruh migran tak berdokumen dengan dalih untuk mengendalikan penularan Covid-19. 

Berdasarkan laporan Tim pencari Fakta Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat (KBMB) tentang Kondisi migran Indonesia yang dideportasi selama masa covid-19 dari Sabah, Malaysia ke Indonesia. tinggal berdesak-desakan di fasilitas penahanan membuat sebagian tahanan yang merupakan perempuan, anak anak dan lanjut usia rentan terpapar Covid-19. Akibatnya, mereka tidak hanya menderita secara fisik tetapi juga mengalami gangguan kesehatan mental. Situasi tersebut diperparah dengan fasilitas penahanan yang tidak inklusif dan ramah terhadap perempuan. “Waktu di penampungan saat ramai wabah corona, setiap hari kami disiram air beralkohol (disinfektan). Kami disemprot sekujur badan dengan tekanan yang kencang hingga basah kuyup. Pakaian yang basah tidak boleh diganti, harus menunggu mengering di badan. Katanya agar segala kuman mati. Kepala kami terasa pusing setelahnya”- Perempuan Deportan  

Kenyataannya berbagai operasi penangkapan tidak berhasil menurunkan angka penularan Covid-19. Angka kasus harian terus meningkat sampai petisi ini ditulis. Sebaliknya muncul berbagai kluster penularan Covid-19 di sejumlah pusat tahanan imigrasi atau PTS. Dari data yang kami kompilasi melalui Newslab, per-10 Agustus 2021  setidaknya telah terjadi 14 klaster penularan Covid di pusat tahanan sementara di Sabah, dengan 6.518 kasus, 1.431 diantaranya masih dalam perawatan. Semakin sering razia, hanya akan menciptakan lebih banyak kluster pusat tahanan sementara, seperti yang kita saksikan terjadi berulang kali di Sabah. Cara tersebut justru berlawanan dengan usaha untuk mengendalikan penyebaran virus Covid-19.

JIM Sabah harus segera menghentikan segala bentuk operasi penangkapan migran tak berdokumen. Menangkap mereka yang mana termasuk anak-anak, orangtua dan perempuan ke dalam pusat tahanan sementara yang penuh sesak merupakan tindakan keji, merendahkan kemanusiaan, dan serangan terhadap orang-orang yang selama ini termarjinalkan yang justru paling membutuhkan bantuan di kala pandemi. 

Buruh migran dan keluarganya yang telah tinggal selama beberapa generasi memiliki kontribusi yang tak tergantikan terhadap ekonomi Sabah. Melalui darah dan keringat mereka lah 1,5 juta hektar perkebunan sawit di Sabah dapat terus beroperasi. Di saat sulit seperti ini, seharusnya mereka mendapatkan bantuan, perlindungan dan pelayanan kesehatan yang sama seperti halnya warga negara, bukannya menjadi target penangkapan dan penahanan. 

Melalui petisi ini kami mendorong agar otoritas Sabah segera:

  1. Menghentikan segala bentuk operasi penangkapan terhadap migran yang tidak berdokumen, termasuk anak anak, perempuan dan orang tua; 
  2. Mempercepat dan memperluas pelaksanaan vaksinasi bagi migran tanpa syarat administrasi dan dokumen keimigrasian; 
  3. Mempercepat dan menyederhanakan proses administrasi deportasi untuk menghindari penahanan berkepanjangan sehingga pusat tahanan sementara bagi para migran di Sabah tidak semakin penuh sesak;
  4. Menyediakan layanan keimigrasian yang lebih mudah diakses, cepat, murah dan aman bagi buruh migran;   
  5. Menjalankan program pengampunan bagi buruh migran tak berdokumen, termasuk mengadopsi program kalibrasi federal (federal recalibration programme); 
  6. Mengutamakan tanggung jawab penghormatan, pemenuhan dan perlindungan Hak Asasi Manusia (HAM) bagi buruh migran, termasuk hak atas kesehatan, dibanding pendekatan represi. 

 

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