Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
Item 68(c): Human rights situations
Sixty-Fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
27 October 2010
Although the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights lies with individual governments, the international community can and should express concern when it is warranted. For this reason, Japan has been engaging in human rights dialogue with many countries, including Iran and Sudan, 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.
Despite the many challenges remaining, we are encouraged by the considerable progress made by the Government of Cambodia in further improving its human rights situation. Japan welcomes the developments that have taken place in the areas of law and regulation, including the adoption of the penal code and the anti-corruption law, and the institutional progress that has been made in the area of land issue. We also welcome the headway that has been made in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal process. And we are encouraged by the fact that the Government of Cambodia clearly accepted all 91 recommendations made in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of last year, as this is a clear indication of the Cambodia’s strong commitment to tackling the human rights challenges it faces. Japan will continue to support the efforts of the Government of Cambodia to improve its human rights situation.
With regard to the human rights violations that occurred during the final stage of the civil war in Sri Lanka, it is essential that the Government of Sri Lanka fulfill its responsibility to fully clarify the facts. Japan strongly hopes that the investigations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which has been holding public hearings in Sri Lanka, will be carried out in a transparent manner and will conform to international standards. Japan believes that the UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka does not hinder the work of the Commission. Rather, it is of the view that the two entities can complement and coexist with each other. Japan will therefore continue to support the Sri Lankan Government in its efforts to work with the United Nations, so as to achieve lasting peace and sustained economic development through the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), national reconciliation and the improvement of its human rights situation.
The special procedures mandated by the Human Rights Council, especially those that are country-specific, do not compete with the UPR; rather, once again, they are complementary. Special procedures facilitate dialogue between the countries in question and the international community. Japan believes that where there are continued systematic and serious human rights violations, not only the Human Rights Council but the General Assembly, as a universal body with wider membership, should address these issues.
Japan attaches importance to the role of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and welcomes the appointment of Mr. Marzuki Darusman. It is very clear that serious violations of human rights continue to take place in the DPRK. In particular, we are deeply concerned by the serious violations of the right to life of its people as well as by the severe restrictions imposed on their civil and political rights. We are also seriously disappointed over the refusal to accept the recommendations by the UPR at the Human Rights Council. The DPRK should give serious attention to the concerns repeatedly raised by the international community and take concrete measures to improve its current human rights situation.
I would like to point out once again that the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens by the DPRK remains unresolved. In August 2008, the DPRK and Japan agreed on the overall objectives and concrete modality of the investigation into the abductions. Then in September, the DPRK suddenly informed Japan of the suspension of the investigation, and we have heard nothing since then. The DPRK should act to fulfill its promise by establishing an authorized investigation committee and commencing the investigation without delay. As Prime Minister Kan stated at the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly this September, if the DPRK takes constructive and sincere steps such as implementing its agreement with Japan, Japan is ready to respond in kind.
On the human rights situation and the democratization process in Myanmar, Japan shares the view that many challenges remain. Democratization in Myanmar is vital for the improvement of its human rights situation. If the Myanmar Government intends to hold general elections on November 7 without releasing political prisoners including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, it will be acting in a way inconsistent with the goal of free, fair and open elections, elections sought by the international community, including Japan, and this would be regrettable. Japan will continue to request at a high level that Myanmar take positive measures to remedy this situation, such as the immediate release of political prisoners including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, early resumption of a substantive dialogue with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD and holding elections in an all-inclusive manner.
In armed conflict and post-conflict situations, it is most frequently the vulnerable members of society, including women and children, who are the victims of human rights violations. Japan commends the tireless efforts of Ms. Coomaraswamy, SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, and Ms. Wallstrom, SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, for working to prevent violence against women and children and to reintegrate women and children affected by the conflicts, in cooperation with relevant UN entities and through their timely visits to the countries concerned.
Japan is gravely concerned by the continued use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In particular, many women and children were among the victims of a mass rape recently perpetrated by armed groups in the eastern part of the DRC. We strongly urge the Government of the DRC to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.
Japan remains committed to assisting further in the protection and empowerment of women and girls and boys in developing and conflict-affected countries from the viewpoint of human security, a goal to which Japan attaches great importance.
Thank you, Madame Chair.