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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 9 - 15  > Poor medical standards at immigration centers in Japan violate human rights
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2018 May 9 - 15 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Poor medical standards at immigration centers in Japan violate human rights

May 10, 2018
Japanese Communist Party representative Fujino Yasufumi on May 9 at a Lower House Judicial Affairs Committee meeting demanded that Japan commit to ending human rights abuses against foreigners at immigration control facilities and to providing adequate medical care to detainees.

Suicides, deaths from disease, and self-harm behavior frequently occur at immigration detention centers in Japan. In mid-April, an Indian man in his 30s who was in the process of applying for asylum committed suicide because he reportedly despaired over his long period of detention.

Fujino's interpellation at the committee meeting revealed that Japan has 17 immigration detention centers where 1,464 people are in custody as of now. Thirteen foreigners died, including five suicides, in detention since 2007 and a total of 394 self-injury incidents, including suicide attempts, took place since 2009. His questioning also brought to light the fact that of the 17 facilities, only one has a full-time medical doctor on staff.

Fujino stated that the most common criticism by detainees were "I have no idea how long it would take until my release" and "I have been treated like an animal." He criticized Japan's Immigration Bureau for its unreasonably long detention policy, treating detainees with no respect for their human rights, and relegating the detention institutions to poor medical standards.

Justice Minister Kamikawa Yoko in response said, "As long as authorities compulsorily keep someone in immigration facilities, it is a state responsibility to provide them with adequate medical treatment just like in prisons."

Fujino responded, "Every prison has at least one full-time doctor. However, at many immigration centers, only one doctor is on full-time duty."

Kamikawa again said, "The government needs to take responsibility for improving the health and sanitation situation for all detainees."

Past related articles:
> What role should Japan play in global refugee issue? [January 9, 2017]
> Revised immigration law violates foreigners’ rights[June 21, 2009]
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