New York: The United Nations refugee agency on Friday called on Indonesian authorities to carry out a swift and thorough investigation into the reported death of an Afghan asylum-seeker following a failed escape attempt from a detention facility in the country.
According to initial reports, six Afghan asylum-seekers attempted an escape from the immigration detention centre in Pontianak (Kalimantan) on Sunday. The Indonesian authorities apprehended all six either during or immediately after the escape, according to a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.
“UNHCR is seriously troubled by the unclear turn of events that followed,” Andrej Mahecic told a news conference.
He said staff from UNHCR visited the local hospital on Tuesday and were informed that the 28-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker was declared dead on arrival that morning after his body was brought to the hospital by unknown individuals. However, the cause of death has not been established yet and police say they will conduct an autopsy.
Three asylum-seekers were hospitalized on Tuesday while two more, including a 17-year-old, were admitted today with serious injuries. The remaining two are still in the detention centre.
Additional UNHCR staffs from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, are on their way to Pontianak to meet the authorities at the detention centre, as well as the five Afghans to ensure their well-being.
“We call on the Indonesian authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation that will shed light on this incident,” said Mahecic. “We are also seeking more information from our immigration counterparts on this incident.”
He added that UNHCR is encouraged by the decision of the Indonesian Immigration Headquarters to dispatch its team to Pontianak to investigate the incident.