Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika has called on the public not to treat illegal immigrants landed on Bali’s and detained there by authorities as criminals or evildoers.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Pastika said: “It is very important that we understand that these people also have rights that must be respected.” The Governor’s comments were made whilst opening an international workshop in Denpasar in Bali.
Admitting that the island of Bali has become an illegal transit zone for people in search of a better life by trying to enter Australia illegally, Pastika added: “Every person had the right to life, education, health, employment and equality before the law – without any discrimination. The moment we are flooded with such people will prove difficult to handle. Nonetheless, in treating these people we cannot rape them of their fundamental human rights, or imprison them like criminals.?
The Governor, who once served as Bali’s Chief of Police, challenged Bali to make room for all visitors in keeping with the Bali’s reputation as an “island of tolerance.”
Saying software and regulations were needed to prevent Bali from being overwhelmed with either legal or illegal visitors, he insisted that Bali couldn’t refuse such people, but only seek to control and organize them.
The Governor’s comments were made in the opening address at the “Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Migration and Human Rights."
The executive director of the Human Rights Resource Center (HRRC), Marzuki Darusman, echoed the governor’s call, saying illegal immigrants must not be treated as criminals.
Darusman said: “They must be cherished and treated well. We need to note that Bali is becoming increasingly crowded and lacks the proper facilities (for handling illegal immigrants). For this reason, the burden of caring for illegal immigrants must be shared with the National government to avoid any mishaps and mistreatment of these people.”
At the same time, Darusman reminded Australia that, as an advanced nation, that must be aware that people will seek out their country as a place of hope and safe refuge.
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