Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Indonesian authorities of physically abusing asylum seekers and migrants while failing to provide basic conditions for their survival, including food and shelter, according to a report released on Monday.
Many of the nearly 2,000 illegal overseas migrants held across the country as of March were denied legal aid said HRW, following interviews with detainees as young as five years old from countries including Myanmar and Somalia.
“Both adults and children described guards kicking, punching and slapping them or other detainees,” it said.
The report also noted that immigration centers in Indonesia fall far short of international standards, describing them as "often overcrowded, unsanitary and occasionally flooded.”
The New York-based rights group recommended that Indonesia stops detaining migrant children, cleans up detention facilities and initiates fair and thorough processing of asylum claims.
In response, Immigration Office spokesman Herawan Sukoaji accused HRW of bias, adding that authorities would conduct a credibility assessment on the report’s findings.
“We have done our job according to operational standards,” he said. “We commit to upholding the law and taking strict action against our staff found guilty [of violations].”
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