In Taiwan, Southeast Asian Migrant Detainees Must Pay for Their Own Food

Taiwan’s immigration agency confirmed that migrant workers in temporary detention centers are expected to use their own money to pay for meals. Rights groups are outraged.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/03/08
By: Nick Aspinwall

Credit: Depositphotos

Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) has stated that migrant workers in temporary detention centers are expected to use their own money to pay for food, but it denied claims by rights groups that migrant workers were being starved in the centers when they could not afford meals.

The policy, as stated by the NIA, violates global standards of humane treatment of temporary detainees and prisoners. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners state the following: “Every prisoner shall be provided by the prison administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.”

These minimum standards are not always met globally, but most countries do provide at least three basic meals to detainees every day. For instance, immigration detention centers and prisons in the United States, which have been harshly criticized for serving inadequate and inedible food, serve three daily meals for free and make additional food available at personal cost.

Taiwan fails to meet this standard, according to a NIA statement released on Wednesday. Hsu Yun (徐昀), deputy head of the agency’s International Affairs and Law Enforcement Division, admitted that migrant workers must pay for their own food while they are being detained. Those who cannot pay can borrow money from a government employment security fund, she said, but the expenses are expected to be paid back.    [FULL  STORY]

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