Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan(SMJ) and Hammersmith Oath, Attorneys Fighting Against Detention, held a press conference to appeal for amnesty for visa overstayers and the improvement of the situation of those in detention centers ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
We would like to announce the appeal that we published at the press conference here.
Appeal Calling for the Regularization of Irregular Migrants and the Improvement of the Detention System ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
In April 2019, the amended Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (hereinafter, Immigration Control Act) came into force, marking the start of admittance of migrant workers through the creation of anew residence status of “specified skilled worker.” With the expansion of acceptance of migrant workers, the government has announced efforts towards ‘a symbiotic society co-existing with foreign nationals,’ but in order to achieve a truly symbiotic and inclusive society, the newly arriving migrant workers must not be treated as mere work force. An environment that guarantees their human rights and dignity must be created. Also, those migrants who are already residing, working and studying in Japan must be accepted as members of Japanese society and their human rights and dignity must be respected. And in terms of rights as human beings (human rights) and dignity, this also applies to those without valid residence status.
There are currently close to 80,000 irregular migrants in Japan. Among them are children who were born and raised in Japan, those with families in Japan, and those who have nowhere else to go, including longterm residents for whom it is difficult to build livelihoods in their home countries, those who are very likely to be refugees, or who were not recognized as refugees (or granted permission to stay for humanitarian reasons) despite the fact that their return to their home countries would be difficult due to various reasons. Also, there are more than 1,000 people who are forced to stay in detention centers around the country at any given time. These people live in extremely difficult conditions without freedom, under fear of being detained and deported. In the last few years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of those who are detained for longer periods without provisional release, and cases of attempted suicides and deaths of detainees within detention facilities persist. The treatment within these facilities are far below the international human rights standards such as the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules). The Immigration Detention Facilities Visiting Committee, established in 2010 to monitor the operation of the detention facilities, is not fulfilling its function in full, as it is not independent from the government and has insufficient authority and budget.
On the occasion of the new acceptance of migrant workers, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, we strongly call for the regularization of irregular migrants and the improvement of the detention system, in order to present Japan to the rest of the world as a country that truly guarantees human rights and human dignity, to achieve the respect for human rights and dignity, as well as non discrimination, envisioned in the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, and also to realize Unity in Diversity, one of the core concepts of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
1) Revise the provisions allowing indefinite detention, and set a maximum period of detention.
2) Enable prompt judicial review of detention and release.
3) Explicitly include the necessity of detention as a requirement for detention
4) Conduct examinations of provisional release in public court.
5) Provisional release should, in principle, be granted where there is no risk of escape.
July 26, 2019
NPO Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan
Attorneys Fighting Against Detention, Hammersmith Oath
●"Appeal for amnesty for visa overstayers and report on human rights violations of those in detention centers – ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics"
Date and time: Friday, July 26, 2019, 13:00 - 14:00
Koichi Kodama, Attorney, Representative of Attorneys Fighting Against Detention, Hammersmith Oath
Ippei Torii, Executive Director of NPO Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan
Eriko Suzuki, Vice Chair of Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan & Professor, Kokushikan University