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Beside us, there are refugees seeking relief ...
|We are standing by refugees, who came to seek help.
What does RAFIQ mean? RAFIQ means A FRIEND in Persian language.
The war in Afghanistan that was followed by the invasion of Afghanistan
by the United States in October 2001, brought us a strong interest in refugee
problems and the immigration issue. Thereby we have set up support network
for refugee residents in Japan called RAFIQ in August 2002.
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What is Refugee? The Article 1 of Convention to the Status of Refugees is defining as follows:
any person owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of
race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or
political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable
or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection
of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the
country of his former habitual residence as a result such events, is unable
or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
The key words for Refugee are "fear of being persecuted".
Therefore the persons who come to Japan just because of economical reasons,
personal troubles or some natural disasters are not able to be refugees
defined in the above Convention.
Two Afghan refugees who fled for their lives committed suicide in Japan
in 2002. Not only Afghan but also many refugees including Burmese, Kurdish,
Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Iranian etc are suffering due to unwilling reception
of refugees in Japan.
In the first place, what causes refugees to appear nowadays? Why is Japan
reluctant to accept refugees? Does refugee reception give Japan a lot of
trouble? Does it cost a lot? What makes the world unsafe and unenjoyable?
It would be good to learn little by little to answer these countless questions.
The two Afghan refugees were forced to be in the miserable situation as
"If I have to live in such a miserable situation ..., I ought to have
been killed in the war."
In the narrow visiting room which looks the same in a prison shown in TV,
we exchanged words for the first time through a glazed board.
I was confused why we met in this way, although he came from far as he
thought 'Japan the safest'.
"My visa was forged, because I had to flee. No country imprisons refugees.
Why do I have to be in a prison, although I didn't do anything wrong in
"If I were in a prison, I could work. Here I have nothing to do on
bedclothes all day. I can't see the outside. This makes me suffocated.
If I can't go out of here, it would be better to die."
Only limited space equivalent to a tatami mat is given to a person.
Such words make my stomach excruciated. It is very hard to hold back my
tears. I want to say something to him, but I can't find any word. I want
to help him. I want to let him out of the place which drives him into suicide.
I want to join hands with them. I want to play with them.