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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 6 - 12  > On Human Rights Day, Japanese citizens call for reform of immigration law to protect foreigners’ human rights
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2023 December 6 - 12 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

On Human Rights Day, Japanese citizens call for reform of immigration law to protect foreigners’ human rights

December 12, 2023

Seventy-five years have passed since the 3rd United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 1948. Reflecting on lessons learned from the two World Wars, Article 1 of the UN Charter advocates the principles of the sovereign equality of all its members and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UDHR is a bill of rights that sets out the standards to be achieved to realize the principles of the UN Charter.

December 10 is celebrated every year as International Human Rights Day.

On this day in Japan, foreigners and young people held a rally near Nagoya Station in opposition to the entry into force of the adversely revised Immigration Control Act (slated for June 2024), and in memory of a Sri-Lankan woman who died while in detention at a Nagoya immigration facility.

This event took place as part of a nationwide action hosted by a national network of civil groups fighting against immigration authorities’ discriminatory treatment of and human rights violations against foreigners.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Motomura Nobuko joined the rally. Delivering a speech in solidarity, Motomura pointed out that the revised law is inhumane as it allows deportations of refugee status applicants who fled their home countries for such reasons as having a fear of persecution. She expressed her determination to continue working hard to make Japan a nation respecting every one’s life and human rights.

Tsuzuki Shiori, a representative of a local youth group working to support asylum seekers, referred to the death of a Sri Lankan woman, Wishma Sandamali, in 2021 at the Nagoya immigration detention center. She said, “It is unacceptable for the government to reinforce the power of the immigration law-enforcement agency without considering ways to prevent a recurrence and thoroughly investigating the Wishma case. Let us raise our voices in order to eliminate discrimination and oppression against foreigners that is allowed under the current immigration control system.” Wishma was the 17th person to die in Japanese immigration detention since 2007.

Ex-elementary school teacher Ono Masami said that the government should protect the human rights of foreign minors born and raised in Japan without residency status.

A woman participant who learned about the rally on social media said, “I became aware of the problems with the Immigration Control Act after reading the news story about Wishma’s death. I want a society where everyone is respected.”

Past related articles:
> JCP demands that gov't ensure foreigners' right to work, health, and education [August 19, 2023]
> Thousands of citizens march in protest against adverse revision of immigration control law [May 22, 2023]
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