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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 16 - 22  > JCP Fujino: Gov’t should take measures to prevent suicides in immigration detention centers
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2018 May 16 - 22 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Fujino: Gov’t should take measures to prevent suicides in immigration detention centers

May 18, 2018
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Fujino Yasufumi on May 16 at a House of Representatives Judicial Affairs Committee meeting demanded that the government immediately take measures to prevent suicides from occurring in immigration detention centers.

Fujino noted that two days earlier, a Brazilian man who was being held in the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center in Ibaraki’s Ushiku City attempted suicide, adding that the man has reportedly been kept in the center for more than two years. He said, “Many of those who are taken into custody and confined to this type of facility suffer severe mental distress as they have no idea when they will be released. No one should be kept in detention centers for an unreasonably long period of time.”

Fujino said that every year since 2009, self-injury incidents occurred in detention centers. He criticized the Justice Ministry for failing to keep track of the number of attempted suicides and other types of self-harm incidents, and urged the ministry to conduct a fact-finding survey.

In addition, Fujino cited that the Justice Ministry has yet to improve the medical environment in detention centers even after it was advised to do so by a third-party panel tasked with making recommendations based on on-site inspections of the facilities. He urged the government to respond to the council’s advice, saying, “Taking steps to prevent a recurrence of suicides is urgently needed.”

The immigration control authority has been facing growing criticism because of recent incidents: A 22-year-old female Kurdish asylum seeker was suddenly detained in November 2017 although she had been awarded a temporary permission to stay and lived in Japan since she was six; On April 13, an Indian man killed himself at the immigration detention center in Ibaraki’s Ushiku City after being kept in the facility for more than nine months.

On May 16, 100 people staged a protest near Tokyo’s Shibuya Station in response to that suicide case in the Ushiku facility. The information about this action was widely shared on social media such as Twitter under the hashtag “#Free Ushiku”.

A man from Ibaraki Prefecture said, “Terrible human rights violations are taking place in the facility not far from where I live. I cannot turn a blind eye to that. I want to take action also in my hometown.”

Past related article:
> Poor medical standards at immigration centers in Japan violate human rights [May 10, 2018]
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