Suhakam: Don’t leave refugees and undocumented migrants behind in vaccination programme

Silhouettes of workers on a construction site. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUCHING, July 27: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has reiterated its call for the government to ensure that refugees and undocumented migrants are included in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pick) and to avoid threats of punitive actions.

The Commission in a statement issued yesterday (July 26) noted that the government has increased Covid-19 testing and screening efforts, subsequently ramping up the NIP with close to half a million doses administered daily in recent days.

“Notably the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) had announced on July 23, 2021, that 71.9 per cent of adult residents aged 18 and above in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Selangor, where more than half of the daily new positive cases are reported from, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“However, Suhakam reiterates its call for the government to uphold the principle of ‘Leaving No One Behind’, by ensuring refugees and undocumented migrants are included in the national vaccination programme and to avoid threats of punitive actions,” it said.

It also said that until such time when herd immunity is achieved nationwide, it reminds all levels of society to persist in practising the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“The frontliners’ tireless and selfless efforts alone would not be sufficient to pull us through this pandemic crisis. The actions, or non-action, of every member of the community and wider society matters, as well, in the overall equation to overcome the pandemic.

“It is crucial for everyone, regardless of their nationality or immigration status to comply with the SOP, including avoiding large gatherings, close and confined contacts or travelling across State borders, to restrict further spread of the virus,” it said.

Suhakam also called for appropriate support to be provided to frontliners and their families such as healthcare workers, enforcement agencies, contract workers, and volunteers, to ensure their safety and welfare are well taken care of.

Additionally, Suhakam mentioned that it had recently received a memorandum from the group Gerakan Doktor-Doktor Kontrak Malaysia highlighting grouses with their employment terms. To this, the Commission encouraged all concerned parties to discuss and resolve issues raised soonest, as a matter of public interest.

At the same time, Suhakam welcomed the government’s announcement to reconvene Parliament, stating that the reinstatement of Parliamentary sessions is vital in ensuring there would be a check and balance mechanism in governing the country and allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to highlight and address the people’s affairs and issues, which have become more acute due to the Covid-19 pandemic. — DayakDaily