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Admonishes the system “lacked a sense of crisis”



Immigration Services Agency of Japan releases final report on the death of a Sri Lankan woman

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan on Tuesday (10) released a final report on the death of a Sri Lankan woman at a regional detention centre in central Japan, pointing to the lack of a proper medical response after she said she was feeling unwell and stating that the facility “lacked a sense of crisis and failed to accurately grasp the circumstances as an organisation,” said a report published by the Japanese daily The Mainichi.

The report filed from Tokyo said: The Sri Lankan woman, Wishma Sandamali, then 33, died at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Aichi Prefecture on March 6, after she complained of nausea and numbness starting on Jan. 15 and her condition subsequently deteriorated. She had been detained at the facility since August last year after overstaying her visa since January 2019. She first came to Japan in 2017 as an international student.

The final report acknowledged that Wishma died of illness, but stated that the detailed process leading up to her death could not be determined as several factors likely played a role. The report said the regional immigration bureau’s medical response to her complaint of feeling unwell and the notable changes in her physical condition was insufficient, and presented measures for improvement to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.

The Immigration Services Agency has admonished the then head and deputy head of the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau, and gave strict warnings to a security supervisor and another official.

The final report delved into the Nagoya immigration bureau’s medical response system. It pointed out that the detention centre had a limited medical arrangement in which it was allowed to assign a part-time internal medicine doctor only twice a week. The report then stated that senior bureau officials ought to have properly gotten a grasp of Wishma and other detainees’ physical conditions and their requests for medical examinations, and deliberated and called for the necessary responses, but that the officials failed to develop such a system.

The report revealed that many of the guards at the bureau suspected that Wishma’s complaints about poor health were “an exaggerated appeal to be granted provisional release,” raising issues for future investigation such as staff education and the assignment of interpreters to understand detainees’ physical conditions through communication.

During her detention, Wishma twice filed a request for provisional release, but her wishes were not granted. The final report said the bureau “should flexibly grant provisional release” to those with poor health conditions. As Wishma had claimed that she was subject to violence from a former partner, the report cited the need to reflect on the fact that the local bureau failed to investigate whether she was a victim of domestic violence. It also cited the need to share the content of appeals from detainees’ supporters as something that must be addressed.

In light of these points at issue, the final report produced improvement plans in order for the bureau to “advance reforms to make it an internally and externally reliable organization that respects human rights.” Specifically, the report cited measures such as the reform of all workers’ awareness, boosting its medical system, and ensuring appropriate judgment on provisional release in light of foreign detainees’ health conditions.

The agency’s investigation team probing the background to Wishma’s death conducted a total of 139 interviews with 63 individuals concerned, and also sought opinions from external specialists.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.


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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter



The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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