Immigration ordeal for two Lankan boys
Yes, they may have falsely tried to obtain Malaysian passports. But
does that offence call for two young Sri Lankan boys to be detained in
an Immigration depot for more than two weeks or brought to court in
handcuffs like common criminals?
That is what the Bar Council is asking after one of their human
rights committee members, Renuka T. Balasubramaniam, noticed the plight
of the youths at the Pekan Nenas Immigration Court in Johor recently.
"The boys, about 13 years were seated next to a woman. All three were
handcuffed. The children were reluctant to say much but the woman, a
Malaysian, explained that she was detained while attempting to pass them
off as her own children to obtain Malaysian passports for them.
"The children are Sri Lankan nationals," she said.
The boys were only able to say their families had paid an agent for
them to leave Sri Lanka to travel to France, where they were supposed to
join their uncles.
However, they were passed from stranger to stranger, the last being
the woman detained with them.
"They only met her the day before their visit to the Johor Baru
Immigration office. The agent's plan was thwarted when the children were
detained together with the woman, who was charged."
The boys, though, were not charged with her.
Balasubramaniam said she had learned a deportation order had been
issued against the children as they were not in possession of their
passports. "However, the children would be held until they completed
their testimony against the agent. I was allowed to interview them and
found they had not been permitted to call their parents since their
arrest on October 3."
Balasubramaniam said she then obtained permission from one of the
Immigration officers to call the boys' families. "It was only then that
they emerged from their emotional paralysis. They wept with fear and
relief as they recounted their ordeal to their families."
New Strait Times, Malaysia.