Manila: A rights group today condemned a reported recent crackdown against migrants and refugees in Malaysia.
“We are very concerned for the well-being of Filipino migrants and migrants of other nationalities in Malaysia right now,” said Gary Martinez, head of Migrante International, speaking in Manila.
Arrests and detention of migrants reportedly started as Malaysia entered into the final phase of the implementation of its Illegal Immigrant Comprehensive Settlement Programme.
Martinez said Malaysia is a popular destination of Filipino workers. The country is also a “transit point” of trafficked Filipinos on their way to other parts of Asia.
Tenaganita, a Malaysian migrant organization, reported at least 100 migrants and refugees were arrested by authorities during a raid on February 11.
Migrante International’s data show that the number of undocumented Filipino workers in different countries was around 900,000 in 2007.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which will mark National Migrants’ Sunday this weekend, said an average of 4,000 Filipinos leave the country to work abroad every day.