Wishma's unfortunate death in Japan: Who is responsible?

Tharaka Samman, Dilini Madushanki | Published: 3:51 PM Mar 16 2021
Local Wishma's unfortunate  death in Japan: Who is responsible?

The death of a 33-year-old Sri Lankan  female at a detention centre in Japan has raised concerns  in the society. She had died due to hunger. 

When Ceylon Today inquired from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Tokyo about this unfortunate  incident,Roshan Gamage, Minister- Consulate at the Embassy, said the responsibility and the well-being of anyone in detention  lies with the Japanese Immigration Bureau.

He said that, the Bureau, however, is not bound to inform foreign missions about the activities taking place in such detention centres and would only do so if  and when a detainee make a request. 

He further said the Embassy was completely kept in dark about the relevant victim and her condition. 

When asked whether the Sri Lankan Government would taking measures to repatriate Sri Lankans detained in such centers, he said the Japanese Government deports overstaying migrants from time to time. However, deportations of migrants have stalled due to  COVID-19 outbreak. 

Gamage also said that the Japanese Immigration Bureau would take steps to release or deport such migrants  and would approach the SL  Mission if needed. They will make a request in writing to the Embassy to intervene in such instances, he added.

He said that the Embassy wasn't aware whether Wishma  had informed her family about her situation.

"We took measures to inform her family about the death before lapsing 24 hours to the incident. It was a difficult process as her address in Sri Lanka was not immediately available. We approached Immigration Department in Sri Lanka to obtain her local address and then informed the Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry informed the family through police message," Gamage elaborated.  

The Embassy is yet to receive the post-mortem report of the girl and her relatives have given an affidavit to the Embassy through the Foreign Ministry to conduct the funeral in Japan , Gamage added.

Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, 33, died after being hospitalized on Saturday (06) due to an illness while being held at the Immigration Detention Center at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau, Japanese media reported.

A resident of Imbulgoda, Gampaha, she had gone to Japan on a student visa in 2017 and was detained by the Japanese Immigration and Emigration authorities in August 2020 for overstaying in the country after her visa had expired.

She was detained at the relevant center for about 7 months.

Tharaka Samman, Dilini Madushanki | Published: 3:51 PM Mar 16 2021

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