Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
Item 69 (b): Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms
and Item 69 (c): Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives
Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
26 October 2011
The promotion and protection of all human rights are a legitimate concern of the international community. For this reason, Japan has been engaging in a human rights dialogue with more than ten countries while taking into account the history, culture, tradition and specific situations of each and on the basis of the “positive linkage” and “dialogue and cooperation” approaches.
The special procedures mandated by the Human Rights Council and the Council’s UPR are the mechanisms which facilitate dialogue between the countries in question and the international community. At the same time, in the case of serious and continuous human rights violations, Japan believes that the General Assembly, as a universal body with wider membership, should address these issues in addition to the Human Rights Council.
The consensual adoption by the Human Rights Council of the resolution on the human rights situation in Cambodia has been a good model of dialogue and cooperation. We have seen developments in institutional building such as legal reforms and Japan appreciates the continued efforts by the Cambodian government towards developing an action plan on its UPR follow-up. Japan encourages the Cambodian government to make further efforts to improve human rights situation and invites the international community to assist the country.
We are gravely concerned by the human rights violations in the DPRK. We are disappointed by the fact that it never shows an intention to respond to the recommendations by the UPR of the Human Rights Council and also refuses to cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms, including the special procedure. The abduction issue remains outstanding. Twelve Japanese citizens who have been abducted by the DPRK have not yet returned to their motherland. There are still other cases in which the possibility of abduction by the DPRK cannot be ruled out. In August 2008, the DPRK agreed to establish a committee to launch an investigation into the abduction issue. However, since then, the DPRK has not taken any concrete action. Japan urges the DPRK to commence a comprehensive investigation on the abduction issue in accordance with the agreement in 2008 without any further delay. As the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Noda, stated in his address to the Sixty-sixth Session of the UN General Assembly, “the abduction issue represents a violation of basic human rights. Thus, this is a universal issue and a matter of great concern for the entire international community.” Japan and the European Union are to submit the draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, calling on it to address its own human rights situation including the abduction issue. We would like to ask all Member States for their support to this draft resolution.
On Myanmar, Japan welcomes the development towards democratization and national reconciliation, including the direct dialogue between President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the release of political prisoners. Japan calls upon the international community to engage and assist in order for the commitments of the Myanmar government on the improvement of the human rights situation to achieve concrete results. As the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Myanmar demonstrated last week, Japan will continue to encourage Myanmar at a high level to take further positive steps for democratization and national reconciliation.
Japan had its seventh human rights dialogue with Iran this May. We appreciate that the Iranian government accepted to hold the dialogue. Japan is concerned by the human rights situation in the country, including the restriction of the freedom of expression, execution by stoning, public executions and executions of under-aged persons. We would call upon the government to ratify the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and urge the government to cooperate with the international community and allow the Special Rapporteur Mr. Shaheed in the country. Japan will continue its dialogue and cooperation with the government of Iran.
The recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, the so called “Arab Spring,” offer a good opportunity for the improvement of human rights situations in the region. Japan welcomes an important step toward women’s political participation in Saudi Arabia. We are concerned by the worsening human rights situation in Yemen, while congratulating Ms. Tawakkul Karman for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in the promotion of women’s rights and freedom of expression. Japan is deeply concerned by the continuation of serious violations of human rights in Syria and calls upon the Syrian government to cooperate with the commission of inquiry established by the Human Rights Council. Finally, Japan strongly hopes that the universal value of human rights is respected in the new nation-building in Libya.
I thank you, Madam Chair.