Statement Opposing Once Again the Bill for Amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Submitted by the Government
The bill to amend the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act currently deliberated in the Diet (“the Amendment Bill”) encompasses numerous issues including:
− Deferring the establishment of the maximum period of detention and a system of judicial review
− Introducing a system of Monitoring Measures, which compels supporters and attorneys to play a role that is incompatible with their position
− Partial lifting of the suspensive effect on deportation for certain cases of asylum seekers, which may potentially be a contravention of the principle of non-refoulement
− Instituting an expulsion order system that includes the use of criminal penalties that are not necessary
Therefore, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“the JFBA”) published the Statement on the Bill for Amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Submitted by the Government on February 26, 2021, thereby expressing its opposition to the Amendment Bill unless fundamental revisions are made to it. Additionally, on March 18, 2021, the JFBA released the Opinion on the Bill for Amendments to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, where it highlighted explicitly the relevant issues with the Bill.
During this period, once again on March 6, a death took place at a detention house of the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau. Consequently, the JFBA issued a statement on March 30 calling for the establishment of an independent third-party committee to undertake swift and thorough investigations into the cause of death, issues in the medical care system, and other issues, and reiterated that the Amendment Bill should be re-examined fundamentally.
Moreover, on March 31, the Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where Japan is one of the Member States, expressed their concerns that the Amendment Bill was found in breach of international human rights law and urged strongly that the Japanese Government reconsider it, which was then followed by the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights releasing its comments on April 9 expressing their “very serious concerns” about the Amendment Bill. On May 11, 124 scholars specializing in international human rights law and the Constitution of Japan also issued a joint statement calling for a fundamental reconsideration, including withdrawal, of the Bill, and urged that conformity with international human rights law be ensured.
Nevertheless, the debate on the Amendment Bill is in progress and media reports also suggest it may be voted on, whereas the search for the truth of the detainee’s death on March 6 remains inadequate and there has been no in-depth discussion about the aforementioned issues embedded in the Bill.
Given such circumstances, the JFBA makes a strong protest against the fact that the Amendment Bill has been debated without conducting an adequate search for the truth of the March 6 death or addressing the serious issues with the Bill. The JFBA opposes the Amendment Bill unless fundamental revisions are made to it hereafter, and has no choice but to call for withdrawal of this Amendment Bill if the present situation continues into the future.
May 14, 2021
President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations