UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health – Visit to Malaysia

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 3.22.49 PMKUALA LUMPUR (2 December 2014) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Dainius Pūras, has issued his preliminary observations and recommendations following his country visit to Malaysia from 19 November to 2 December 2014.

The Special Rapportuer noted that undocumented migrants and asylum seekers face significant barriers in accessing health care in Malaysia. He also raised concerns over the establishment of immigration counters inside Malaysian public hospitals, through which undocumented migrants and asylum seekers are reported to immigration authorities when they seek medical attention.

He also noted with  alarm the recent practice of arresting and detaining undocumented women migrants and asylum seekers within days of giving birth at public hospitals and urged the Malaysian government to cease this practice.

 

“I am alarmed at testimonies received about a recent wave of arrests of undocumented women migrants and asylum seekers who, only a few days after giving birth, were taken from hospitals directly to detention centres.  In those centres, some of these women and their new-born babies reportedly did not receive the necessary medical attention or the appropriate care from the authorities. I urge the authorities to stop this practice, and to refrain from using the health system for law and order purposes.”

 

During his visit, the Special Rapportuer visited two Malaysian immigration detention centres: Leggeng Detention Centre and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport immigration depot. He noted that conditions in these detention centers fell short of complying with international standards, and food provided was not of sufficient quality or quantity.

The Special Rapporteur’s observations and recommendations will be elaborated in further detail in a report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015.