Yuko Kirimoto: Lawyer in Japan. an associate at Tokyo Surugadai Law Offices, a member of the Refugee Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), the vice-chair of the Human Rights Committee for Foreign Nationals of Tokyo Bar Associations.
1.The number of forced displacement and migrant, including of refugees, is increasing due to escalating conflicts and new outbreaks of conflict around the world. More than 100 million people have been forcibly displaced in 2022, the largest number ever. Many migrants and refugees face vulnerable situation in human rights because of strict border controls and xenophobic and intolerant tendencies by states. This session shared knowledge and experiences of what lawyers in the Asia-Pacific region are acting and what challenges they are facing in their respective countries ,and to explore ways of cross-border cooperation.
2. The panel and moderators are as follows
Ara Cho (South Korea, lawyer of Peter & Kim)
Chieko Takami (Japan, lawyer of Tokyo Chuo Law Office)
Brian Barbour(Australia, Senior Refugee Protection Advisor at Act for Peace)
Jirim Kim (South Korea, lawyer of GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation)
Motoki Taniguchi(Japan, Founding Director Call4,a lawyer of Tokyo Public Law Office)
Yoshitaka Toda(Japan, Case Support Manager Call4, a lawyer of Waseda Legal Commons)
Kosuke Oie(Japan, lawyer of LPA Tokyo)
Simone Cuomo(Secretary-General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe)
3. Brian Barbour (Australia) reported on the situation of refugees in the Asian region and emphasized the importance of local actors connecting and taking a “Whole of Society” approach to solving human rights and refugee issues. As part of this approach, he requested that the international community provide judgments to the database of judgments that Mr. Barbour is compiling , as this could be effective to put pressure on the country as a whole by disclosing the judgements..
Attorney Jirim Kim (Korea) reported on the activities of the GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation, the first public interest law foundation in Korea. She presented a case about torture of a refugee applicant in an immigration facility. She emphasized that it is important to make the problem known to the public through legal means, press conferences, etc., but that the interests of the victims should not be left behind in favor of the lawyer’s intuition that the problem should be remedied.
Attorney Kosuke Oie (Japan) reported on immigration detention issues in Japan, including problems with the proposed revision of Japanese Immigration Control Act enacted in 2023, and reported on cases of assault and death in immigration facilities.
Mr. Taiki Taniguchi (Japan) and Mr. Yoshiyasu Toda (Japan) reported on the history of the launch of CALL 4, an Internet site that supports public lawsuits through crowdfunding, its activities, and the new project LEDGE. Mr. Taniguchi and Mr.Toda reported that they are making litigation documents available on their platform, which normally require access to the courtroom, and that they are enhancing their ability to communicate to the public by creating a special page called Story and disseminating articles created by professional writers and photographers, etc. Through LEDGE, they are planning to conduct public lawsuits more widely. The committee also reported that it is planning to conduct public lawsuits more widely through LEDGE.
Commentator Simone Cuomo said that based on the reports from each laywers. he would like to bring back to the Council of European Bar Associations cases and share and exchange opinions with them. Those who have experience in reporting to the UN as Special Rapporteurs are encouraged to share their experiences with us in the future.