Refugees get insufficient access to hygiene essentials
SHAH ALAM - Detainees who are held in detention centres lack access to basic needs, especially hygiene essentials, which could lead to health issues.
Refuge For The Refugees Founder Heidy Quah said this was something that should be looked at since it could lead to health problems, especially among children.
“Talking with the detainees we have worked with, we were always told about the lack of access to basic necessities such as sanitary pads and diapers.
Based on the conversation with the female detainees, Quah said she was told that they were only provided with two T-shirts and two pairs of pants.
She said the women were not even provided with proper hygiene essentials.
“If they are on their period and bleed through their pants, they would have to wash it and use the same pants again.
“As for those who had babies in the detention centre, they told us that they often have to use the T-shirts off their back as diapers for their children.
"It happens quite often. They would put the clothes under running water without proper detergents and cleaning agents, and they put it back on the children,” she said during Sinar Daily’s Wacana English Edition titled ‘Detained: The Refugee Dilemma’, on Thursday.
She said this has raised concerns since it could cause long-term health problems and skin diseases, especially for children with weakened immune systems.
The other panelists present were Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar chairman Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar and former Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph.
They discussed the most pressing issues impacting refugees in Malaysia.
On April 20, a total of 528 Rohingya detainees were reported to have escaped from the temporary detention depot by breaking down the door and barrier grill in the incident which occurred at about 4.30am.
Six of them died in an accident while trying to cross the road at Kilometer 168 of the North-South Expressway.