Asylum-seekers in Japan and their supporters voiced opposition Wednesday to a bill allowing the government to forcibly deport those applying for refugee status.
The bill, which revises the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, would allow Japanese authorities to send back asylum-seekers who have applied for refugee status three or more times.
According to the supporters’ lawyers, the current law allows people to apply for asylum as many times as they wish, letting them avoid deportation during the application process.
At a news conference in Tokyo, a member of an ethnic minority in Myanmar said that she feared being killed if she is deported.
The woman, whose father is a senior figure in the Kachin Independence Army ethnic rebel group, said she had already filed an application for a third time. She stressed that she is seeking asylum because her life is in danger.
A Nigerian asylum-seeker who has lived in Japan for over 25 years accused the Japanese government of bullying refugees.
A U.N. working group said last month that the bill violates international human rights law, as asylum-seekers’ lives and rights may be threatened by deportation.