Tuesday, February 14, 2006

UNHCHR slams Japan on racism

Doudou Diene's report on his visit to Japan is published at last, available here. It's not exactly diplomatic:
69. After having collected and analysed the views of all parties concerned, the Special Rapporteur reached the conclusion that racial discrimination and xenophobia do exist in Japan, and that these affect three circles of discriminated groups: the national minorities - the Buraku people, the Ainu and the people of Okinawa; people from and descendants of people from former Japanese colonies - Korea and China; and foreigners and migrants from other Asian countries and from the rest of the world.
70. The Special Rapporteur noticed that the manifestations of such racial discrimination and xenophobia are manifold. First of all, they are of a social and economic nature. All surveys and indicators point to the fact that minorities live in a situation of marginalization and economic and social vulnerability, in the fields of employment, housing, marriage, pensions, health and education. Such inequalities vis-à-vis the rest of the Japanese society should urgently be addressed.
71. Secondly, the discrimination is also of a political nature. The Special Rapporteur noticed the invisibility of the national minorities in State institutions, in particular the Parliament and the Government. For example, the Ainu have only had one congressman in the national Parliament, whom the Special Rapporteur met, but have none at present. Such invisibility shows the depth of exclusion, and increases the sense of discrimination and marginalization of the communities concerned, who are given no opportunity to participate in the managing of their present and future affairs.
The main conclusions are that the Japanese Govt should do something about it:
74. The Government, at the highest levels, should officially and publicly recognize the existence of racial discrimination and xenophobia in Japanese society. It should be done by conducting a survey to find out the present conditions of each discriminated group in Japan. The Government, at the highest levels, should also officially and publicly recognize historical and cultural roots of racial discrimination and xenophobia in the Japanese society, and express in clear and strong terms its political will to combat it. Such a message will not only create the political conditions of combating discrimination and xenophobia at all levels of society, but also facilitate the promotion of the complex but profound process of multiculturalism in Japanese society. Moreover, in the context of globalization, such a message will undoubtedly enhance the standing and image of Japan in the world and in particular in the countries economically related to Japan and whose citizens or people migrate or visit Japan. Japanese citizens, who are increasingly visiting foreign countries for tourism or business-related reasons, will be in a stronger moral position not only to combat the manifestations of discrimination they may be subjected to, but also to promote the image of their country.
75. The Government should strongly condemn and oppose to any statement by public officials which tolerates or even encourages racial discrimination and xenophobia, in accordance with article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by Japan, and in particular its paragraph (c), which provides that States “shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination”, and in accordance with article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, also ratified by Japan, which prohibits “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”.
76. The Government and the parliament (Diet) should as a matter of urgency proceed to the adoption of a national law against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, giving effect into its domestic legal order to the provisions of its Constitution and of the international instruments to which Japan is a party, which include the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Such a domestic law should:
Penalize racial discrimination in all its forms, and specifically discrimination in the field of employment, housing and marriage, and guarantee access to effective protection and remedies, including compensation, to victims;
Declare an offence all propaganda and all organizations which are based on racial superiority or hatred and promote or incite racial discrimination, as provided for in article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur shares the view of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination that the reservation made by Japan to article 4 (a) and (b) of the Convention is in conflict with Japan’s obligations under article 4, which is of a mandatory nature, and that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority and hatred is compatible with the rights to freedom of opinion and expression. Therefore, the inclusion in the domestic legal system of a prohibition of all propaganda and all organizations which promote or incite racial discrimination cannot validly be avoided by invoking the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
The communities concerned should be consulted and should participate in the process of elaboration of this law.
So we can expect to see (at best) a brief flurry of bland comments from the politicians, assurances that they will look into it when the time is right...and the whole matter being quietly forgotten.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi friend,

How are you doing?

Please just tell me…. How safe is an Indian outside the Indian border?
We often find newspapers or petitions with running headlines from the assaulted Indians begging for support, but seldom do we find perfect solutions to these kind of problems.

Racial slurs hurt Indians as always. Previously when our very own sensational Shilpa Shetty was racially abused, the nation stood up to support her, but what will the nation do now – when not the very famous, a common Indian is chased. Will again the Indians around the globe stand to support her? Will you do that, dear reader?

Will you??

The employee rights legislation affirms, “All employees are protected by the equal employment opportunity laws, regardless of their citizenship or work authorization status. Employees who work in the U.S. or its territories are protected by laws whether they work for a U.S. or foreign employer”.

If that is true, then how come an Indian-born US citizen Neelima Tirumalasetti, who works for a Texas based pharmaceutical company - Caremark’s Richardson as a senior IT analyst in quality assurance, was so much harassed on account of her caste and ethnicity by her colleagues that she could not bear the mental strain and found herself in the hospital bed?

Tirumalasetti's co-workers repeatedly called her “brown-skinned bitch,” “dirty Indian,” and other insults, accused her of coming to the U.S. to “take their jobs,” mocked her accent in team meetings, and even excluded her work projects. If the Federal Authorities are so protective about the concerns of Racial Discrimination in the country, then how do these multinational organizations carry out such vicious activities? How the organization and the management could take no notice of her complaints?

Neelima said in an interview to The Times of India. "This lawsuit is about dignity and assuring that employees are treated equally regardless of their origin, race or ethnic background." And we know, it really is.

I believe this is a battle for humankind. Humiliating people on racial grounds is completely immoral and unethical. Those involved in this are really disgraceful.

Read Neelima’s case story in her own words here:

Dear All,

I am Neelima, a native of Andhra Pradesh, and let me tell you about my law case and my fight against injustice in the US. The legal battle has changed my life completely - financially and emotionally. The harassments, threats, slurs and retaliation I faced at Caremark left me with no option but to file the discrimination lawsuit against the company. Because of the extreme harassment, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder resulting my husband to quit the job to take care of our two small kids. Our American dream was shattered, we exhausted our savings, sold our house, car just to bear expenses and survive. With no health insurance my medical bills piled up result of the hospitalizations, expensive edications and treatments.

Sending this email requesting funds is not easy but we don't want to give up the fight now - after all the suffering our family had to go through these past two years. I request you all to contribute to the fund - people like you can make a difference. I will be grateful for your support and help. My fight is not against America or Americans, it's against injustice.

Please help me win this fight. If possible please forward this to your friends and family. Please select one of the following to donate.



Mail cheques to: Neelima Tirumalasetti, 3500 N.star rd, apt # 825, Richardson, TX – 75082.

Please share your views/thoughts/experience with me at
http://www.jantaraj.com/Salmajk/defaultpet.asp?pid=716 or

Neelima Tirumalasetti.

Racial Discrimination is extremely heartless, horrible and absurd. Isn’t it? People seem to forget the meaning of humanity today. In this present world of Globalization, this is a very awful. I feel we all should strongly condemn this type of attitude and request the government to take a serious action against these abuses.

Racial discrimination is not acceptable, utterly shameful and is intolerable everywhere. I would request to the Government to educate such people by awarding excellent punishment lessons. Though the EEO laws exist we find many assaulted employees crying for care and justice. Many people migrate for multiple purposes from our country and are forced to face such disgusting practices. They fall prey to this kind of Xenophobia but are afraid to raise their voices. Government needs to set up a platform, a forum where voices can be raised and heard and wherein solutions can found for inappropriate practices. Authorities must take action now!

How safe are we Indians today?
What would you say?

Thank you dear for your time.

Online Voice of the people of India.