Monday 12 April 2010

Mission in Japan: Amnesty, UNHCR...all on the case and latest photo of Jamal

Farshad Hosseini had some extremely busy days before his mission in Japan for Jamal ended. On Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 April he had several high profile meetings in a push to move Jamal’s case forward. He met with the leader of the Social Democratic Party and an MP, union leaders, anti-war movement leaders, UNHCR Japan and Amnesty International Japan.

He met Ms Mizohu Fukushima, Minister of State and leader of the Social Democratic Party and Mr Hattori Ryoichi, MP. Farshad discussed Jamal’s case with Ms Fukushima and she said that she would follow it up with the Minitstry of Justice and the immigration authorities.

Farshad also met with the deputy secretary of the National Union of Workers in Japan, Nakajima Hiroshi

and Mr. Ken Takada, leader of the widely known anti-war movement in Japan, organisers of the largest anti-war protest in Japan. Both promised to help free Jamal.

Farshad went to see the Shinji Kubo responsible for internal relations the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Japan.He talked to him in detail about Jamal’s situation and the inhumane treatment of the immigrantion authorities of Jamal. Farshad stressed that the UNHCR has been made aware of the violation of refugee conventions and international agreements by the immigration authorities. UNHCR has a duty to be sensitive aobut this issue and intervene immediately. UNHCR as an international observer organisation can and must advice the Japanese ministry of justice and the immigration authorities to recognise Jamal as a refugge and in case of refusal, UNHCR must find another way to transfer Jamal to to a another safe country and take urgent action. Mr Kubo said that UNHCR in Japan cannot take any action outside the framework of Japanese law as Japan accepts refugees and is in charge of issuing refugee status. However given the circumstances of Jamal UNHCR will try to advise the Japanese government regarding Jamal's specific case.

Farshad also met with the general director of Amnesty International in Japan, Mr Makoto Teranaka and the refugee secretary of Amnesty Ms Hiroka Shoji. Farshad talked to them in detail about Jamal's case and stated that he expects Amnesty as an organisation for Human Rights' laws to to act on behalf of Jamal and to put pressure on the Ministry of Justice and the immigration authorities so that they accept Jamal as a refugee. Mr Teranaka said that Amnesty is aware of Jamal's case and that he had also visited Jamal in detention. He said that Amnesty is trying for his asylum status but that they would need more information regarding similar cases in Iran where people have been prosecuted. By referring to these kind of cases, Amnesty could prove the Iranian government is prosecuting activists from abroad. Farshad is going to follow this up and send Amnesty Japan materials, but if anyone has information on this please get in touch with us and we will forward it. At the end of their meeting they had a good discussion on how to make the Free Jamal! campaign more effective.

Farshad had also numerous interviews with journalists from newspapers who interviewed him about Jamal’s situation and the human rights situation in Iran.

On Thursday evening Farshad was invited to speak at the activists and young supporters of the Free Workers' Union of Japan seminar. He spoke about the current revolution in Iran and the situation and developments since the revolution in 1979. After the seminar Farshad talked about Jamal's case. An open discussion followed in which ideas on how to extend the Free Jamal! campaign in Japan with the support of unions were discussed

Last but not least Farshad went to see Jamal again in detention. Here is Jamal's photo (taken secretly) from behind the glass screen that separates him from his visitors.

Farshad has now returned from his mission in Japan and is following up on the promised actions by the many people his has met there, so watch this space for more news from Japan.

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