STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Japan apologises, pledges reform after Sri Lankan woman's death in immigration detention

Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said a report on the March death of 33-year-old Wishma Sandamali concluded she received inadequate treatment as her health deteriorated.

Published: 10th August 2021 04:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th August 2021 04:54 PM   |  A+A-

Japan Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa (Photo | Twitter/@Kamikawa_Yoko)

Japan Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa (Photo | Twitter/@Kamikawa_Yoko)

By AFP

TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday apologised for the death of a Sri Lankan woman in immigration detention and pledged to reform conditions in the system.

Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said a report on the March death of 33-year-old Wishma Sandamali concluded she received inadequate treatment as her health deteriorated.

Sandamali was detained for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

She reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms starting in January, and campaigners allege she was given inadequate medical care.

"I express my heartfelt condolences to her mother and bereaved family, and my heartfelt apologies for (the) loss of this precious life in the detention centre," Kamikawa said.

The minister said the report had not conclusively determined the cause of Sandamali's death but found the detention centre in Nagoya in central Japan "lacked a system to assess the health of detainees and provide medical services".

"I have instructed the chief of the immigration services agency to take control and supervise regional outlets appropriately," Kamikawa said.

"We will carry out reforms with the determination that this never happens again."

National broadcaster NHK said four officials at the detention centre were "reprimanded" over the death, but none were fired.

Sandamali's family has been in Japan campaigning for information about her death, and said the government's announcements were not enough.

"Who will take responsibility for her death? We aren't convinced by just an admonition of officials," her sister Poornima told a press conference.

Human rights campaigners have long criticised conditions at Japanese detention centres, including how guards respond to medical emergencies.

In May, Japan's ruling lawmakers dropped a controversial push to change rules on handling asylum seekers and deportations after opposition pressure over Sandamali's death.

The proposed legislation included changes making it easier to deport unsuccessful asylum seekers, something that was heavily criticised by rights groups, who also say Japan should do more to take in refugees.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp