Statement by H. E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
Agenda item 64 : Report of the Human Rights Council
Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly
2 November 2011
I thank the President of the Human Rights Council for the presentation of her report today and her dedicated work in the Council.
The international community has been faced with new challenges to strengthen the human rights mechanism and responsibly address the ongoing human rights violations around the world. To this effect, the Human Rights Council (HRC) has an increasingly important role in the international community. Since its establishment, the Council has steadily accumulated its achievements.
First, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was created as a new mechanism which should improve the human rights situations of all Member States through their voluntary follow-up actions.
Second, the Special Procedures complement the UPR in addressing the serious human rights violations around the world. Japan places a high value on the role of the Special Procedures and has extended an official Standing Invitation to all thematic mandate-holders.
Third, the Council has convened special sessions in response to serious human rights violations and taken appropriate actions, including the urgent dispatch of an international commission of inquiry and the strong messages sent to the international community through resolutions.
Japan has been a member of the Council since its establishment in 2006 until this year and is now standing as a candidate in the 2012 election. In Geneva and New York, Japan has made efforts to strengthen the work and the functioning of the Council and participated actively in the negotiations of the HRC review this year.
As all Member States sitting here know, the negotiations were extremely difficult. Co-facilitators and all states made efforts towards reaching an agreement. As a result, an outcome was reached which contained a few, though not all we had hoped for, improvements to the Council.
We agreed on an improved and more practical way to align the Council’s work with its membership and reporting cycle. With regard to the financial issue, the outcome requested the Secretary-General to present a report with ‘options’ for the Fifth Committee to consider, which included ways to implement ‘urgent mandates’ as decided by the Council.
On the other hand, we also sought concrete and practical measures, including the improvement of the election process in order to ensure the active participation of its membership, with the aim of strengthening the implementation of GA resolution 60/251. However, it was regrettable that we could not agree on such an outcome.
We would like to stress that the Council was established to realize the ‘mainstreaming of human rights’: that is, to integrate a human rights perspective into all activities of the United Nations. We should further strengthen the function of the UN as a whole, recognizing that the role of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, as a universal body including all UN Member States, is also important. We expect that the Third Committee and the Council fulfill their roles, making use of their respective advantages.
In the future, the Council should fulfill the expectations of the international community by accruing further concrete achievements and strengthening its functions through a continuous review of its own work. We wish that the General Assembly would also review the Council’s work in the near future through an agreement of the Member States, in order to advance the mainstreaming of human rights in the UN system.
I thank you, Mr. President.