Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention

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(読売:「大村入管センターで常勤医不在2年に、確保のメド立たず」日本語版はコメント・セクションにあります。ページダウンして下さい。)
Hi Blog. Daily Yomiuri reports: Two state-run immigration “Gaijin Tanks” (where overstayers await deportation) have no full-time doctor on staff, despite ministerial requirements. This is apparently happening because of “culture and language issues” and “lack of career advancement” (not to mention long hours and low pay).

Yet maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of any kind is required by the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Amnesty International calls on the GOJ to cough up the cash for conditions if they’re going to detain people like this indefinitely.

Read on for more on the dynamic and the conditions that overstayers face if they get thrown in the Gaijin Tank. Debito in sapporo

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Detention centers lack docs
2 facilities holding visa violators not offering proper medical care
DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20061222TDY02004.htm

Two state-run immigration centers where foreigners who have violated the
Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law are detained until they are
deported failed to have a full-time doctor on staff despite ministerial
requirements, it has been learned.

As adequate medical treatment and health care for the detainees is
stipulated in a Justice Ministry ordinance, a full-time doctor is required
to be stationed at the centers’ clinics.

However, the West Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, has
not had a full-time doctor for about five months since the last doctor
resigned on Aug. 1, according to the Immigration Bureau.

The Omura Immigration Center has not had a full-time doctor for about two
years since a clinic chief dispatched from a local university resigned at
the end of 2004.

Full-time doctors shoulder such responsibilities as preventing the spread of
infectious diseases and instructing nurses and other staff.

Maintaining adequate medical and health services at detention facilities of
any kind is also stipulated in the U.N. Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment
adopted at the General Assembly in 1988. Therefore, the government may face
criticism from abroad over the centers’ lack of full-time doctors.

Addressing the situation, the Immigration Bureau began recruiting
prospective applicants through several channels, including the ministry’s
Web site and local job-placement offices.

But no applications have been received due to the demands of the work, which
requires that doctors be able to deal with people of different nationalities
and handle the attendant culture and language issues.

Doctors also complain that the centers pay less than private hospitals, and
that working at the centers will not further their careers.

The introduction of a national system requiring doctors who have just passed
the national exam to undergo training at medical institutions is another
reason for the lack of full-time doctors at the centers.

Because the new system allows doctors to work at private hospitals, where
salaries are relatively high, during their training, many prefer to work
there rather than at university hospitals, which are also facing a shortage
of doctors.

As a result, a local university hospital discontinued sending an experienced
doctor to the Omura center after the clinic chief left the center on Dec.
31, 2004.

According to the Immigration Bureau, of the nation’s three immigration
centers, only the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki
Prefecture, has a full-time doctor.

Addressing the problem, the West Japan and Omura centers have each hired a
part-time doctor to work six hours a week, over two days.

As of the end of October, there were 254 detainees at West Japan center, and
176 at Omura center. Of these, 15 at West Japan center and four at Omura
center have been detained for six months or longer.

The immigration centers have detained Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Myanmars
and other Asian nationals, as well as people from Middle Eastern, Latin
American and African nations.

If there is an emergency when no doctor is on hand, detainees are sent to
nearby hospitals by ambulance or other means. But in all cases they are to
be accompanied by officials to prevent them from escaping.

If the detainees are hospitalized, officials are required to watch them
around-the-clock in shifts. So officials are often called in on their days
off.

A member of an Osaka-based civic group supporting foreigners said: “There
are cases in which detainees complaining of poor health couldn’t immediately
undergo medical examination and treatment. That’s a serious problem.”

An Immigration Bureau general affairs division spokesman said, “A part-time
doctor isn’t enough, so we’ll continue our efforts to find a full-time
doctor.”

Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan said: “The
central government hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility to ensure adequate
medical services at the centers. It’s required to have a budget for two
full-time in-house doctors at each facility.”

DAILY YOMIURI (Dec. 22, 2006)

One comment on “Yomiuri: Immigration’s “Gaijin Tanks” violate UN Principles on Detention

  • Japanese version of this article:

    大村入管センターで常勤医不在2年に、確保のメド立たず
    読売新聞 2006年12月21日
    http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news/ne_06122153.htm

     入管難民法違反の外国人を本国に送還するまで収容する法務省大村入国管理センター(長崎県大村市)と西日本入国管理センター(大阪府茨木市)で、収容外国人の診療と健康管理のため同省令で配置を義務付けられた常勤医が不在になっていることがわかった。

     不在期間は、大村センターが約2年間、西日本センターが約5か月間。入管側も不備を認め医師を緊急募集しているが、言葉や文化の違いなどがネックとなり、確保のメドは立っていない。

     同省入国管理局によると、同様の施設は全国に3か所あり、常勤医の定員はいずれも1人。東日本入国管理センター(茨城県牛久市)には常勤医がいるが、大村センターは2004年末に、西日本センターは8月初めにそれぞれ常勤医が退職して以降、後任が見つからない状態が続いている。

     不在の背景には、〈1〉言葉や生活習慣の違いから診療が困難〈2〉勤務経験が医者としての評価に結びつきにくい〈3〉給与が民間より低い——などの事情がある。

     収容者数は10月末現在、西日本センター254人、大村センター176人。収容される外国人の国籍は中国、韓国、ベトナムなどアジア諸国のほか、中東、中南米、アフリカなどに及んでいる。

     現在、両センターとも非常勤医を配置しているが、勤務時間はいずれも週2日計6時間。急患が発生し、外部の医療機関に搬送するケースが続発している。

     こうした収容施設での医療体制については、同省令で常勤医の配置が義務付けられているほか、1988年に採択された国連被拘禁者人権原則でも、各国政府が適切な医療体制を保障するよう求めている。

     両センターの現状について、大阪の外国人支援団体は「体調不良を訴えても診療を受けられず、症状を悪化させたケースがある」と指摘。アムネスティ日本の寺中誠事務局長は「政府は収容施設内の医療体制を充実させる責任を果たしていない。常勤医を2人体制にするなどの抜本的な改革が必要だ」と批判する。

     一方、入国管理局総務課は「非常勤医では十分な対応ができないのは事実。今後も常勤医確保に向け努力を続ける」とし、医師を同省のホームページなどで緊急募集し続けている。
    ENDS

    Reply

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