Church agencies slam ‘inhumane’ deportation of Filipinos

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MANILA, August 27, 2013— International Catholic migrant welfare groups expressed concern over crackdowns and mass deportation of undocumented Filipinos in Japan, arguing that they were subjected to “inhumane” conditions. 

The Catholic Commission of Japan Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move (J-CaRM) and the Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) claimed that the latest Filipino deportees were denied proper assistance. 

“We question and oppose the forced mass deportation of the 75 undocumented Filipino migrants because we found that their human rights were violated and their welfare is disregarded,” it said. 

J-CaRM is a sub-commission within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan’s (CBCJ) Commission on Society. 

A joint delegation of J-CaRM and SMJ conducted interviews with individual deportees from Aug. 20 to 26 to assess the deportation process and their reintegration into the Filipino society. 

According to them, the interviews unveiled cases of human rights violations during detention and transportation, as well as lack of governmental assistance in the Philippines. 

The deportees, they said, all need medical attention and counseling to some extent and most of them suffered from symptoms of depression such as “attempted suicide, insomnia, skin disorders, ulcer, aches and difficulty in breathing.” 

“Their physical and psychological conditions deteriorated while in detention. Having lived in Japan for more than a decade, they feel alienated and helpless in their home country, and they are afraid to even venture out to the streets,” they said. 

Last July 6, Japan forcibly deported 75 illegal Filipino migrants, the first time the country has ever chartered a plane to execute mass deportation of undocumented foreigners.  

The international supporters from Japan and the Philippines such as the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and the Scalabrini Migrants Center feel that the deportees’ urgent needs and concerns are not met and that they would fall into poverty without proper assistance.  

“They have no money to start a new life, with some who are left under the care of their relatives with meager income, while others have no family or relatives to return to,” they added. 

The organizations met with key Philippine government agencies on Tuesday and conveyed other findings of their research. 

There are about 200,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan, with additional 5,700 undocumented. (CBCPNews)

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