Human Rights and Social Affairs

United Nations Efforts in Human Rights,
Social Affairs and Humanitarian Assistance

[Human Rights and Social Affairs]

Article 1 of the UN Charter stipulates “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights” as one of the purposes of the United Nations. Since its establishment, the United Nations has dealt with human rights issues in the world and with the protection and promotion of human rights in the international framework, of which first step was the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and following international human rights conventions.

In the Third Committee under the General Assembly, we have discussed human rights and humanitarian and social affairs. Resolutions based on the discussions in the Third Committee are adopted by the General Assembly. In this way, we present discussions at the UN to the international community.

Some issues are discussed directly in the General Assembly. In 2011, the General Assembly conducted a review of the Human Rights Council, which was established as its subsidiary body in 2006 as a consequence of the UN's institutional reform. Currently a General Assembly process is taking place to discuss measures to strengthen the human rights treaty bodies, which were established to ensure the implementation of the human rights conventions.

Issues such as the protection of civilians, women and children are discussed in the Security Council from the perspective of international peace and security.

The three core themes of social development, namely, poverty eradication, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and social integration including persons with disabilities, youth and older persons, are discussed in the Commission for Social Development, a functional commission of the ECOSOC. The Commission on the Status of Women is also a subsidiary body (functional commission) of the ECOSOC and is dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. This Commission discusses issues such as the human rights of women as well as the empowerment of women.

The promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women is one of the Secretary-General’s top priorities. UN Women, a new entity established by merging four existing UN bodies related to gender issues with the additional role of coordinating the UN systembecame operational in 2011. UN Women’s six priority areas are (1) advancing women’s political participation and leadership, (2) improving women’s economic empowerment, (3) ending violence against women and girls, (4) expanding the role of women in peace talks, peace-building, and recovery, (5) making budgets and plans benefit women and men equally, and (6) increasing coordination and accountability across the UN system for gender equality.


[ Humanitarian Assistance]

Humanitarian assistance is given to provide aid, goods, or services in order to save lives, maintain human dignity, and secure the safety of those who have suffered from man-made crises and natural disasters. It not only includes emergency responses to these crises or disasters, but is also comprised of disaster prevention and/or assistance for recovery and reconstruction. Many UN agencies, including UNICEF, WFP, and UNHCR, participate in humanitarian assistance.

In particular, based on General Assembly Resolution 46/182 of 1991, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) plays a central role as the coordinator for the wide-range of humanitarian assistances provided by both various UN agencies and NGOs.

Japan's Efforts in Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs


[Human Rights and Social Affairs]

Japan's policies are based on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as universal values. Japan also places importance on the establishment of the rule of law. Japan has expressed concerns about grave violations of human rights, including abductions in the form of enforced disappearance, and has been appropriately engaged in these issues by cooperating with the international community. Japan has also been making efforts for the improvement of human rights situations in various countries through dialogue and cooperation.

Approximately 60 draft resolutions are submitted to the Third Committee every year. Japan participates in the discussions in a constructive manner to reflect our thoughts in the resolutions and to make appropriate resolutions for the international community as messages of the UN.

Japan has taken the following initiatives in the human rights forums of the UN.

As the government places an importance on the activities of the Human Rights Council, Japan was a member of Council from its establishment in 2006 until 2011. Japan was elected as a member of the Council for term 2013 to 2015 at the election held in 2012. We will fulfill our responsibilities as a member.


Japan, as an initial member of the Executive Board, has actively contributed to and supported the work of UN Women. Japan has also financially supported UN Women's activities on the ground, including projects through the UN Trust Fund (UNTF) to End Violence against Women as well as the UN-Women Fund for Gender Equality (FGE).


[ Humanitarian Assistance]

Japan is actively cooperating with the humanitarian activities of UN agencies both financially and in terms of human resources. Such cooperation includes active contribution in areas like providing assistance towards refugees and internally displaced peoples, aiding in a smooth transition from humanitarian relief to recovery and response in natural disasters, as well as active support for the efforts by the UN agencies towards better security for aid workers and strengthening civil-military cooperation. Japan is also actively participating in the international discussions towards more effective and efficient implementation of the humanitarian assistance.


[ Statements]


Universal Declaration of Human Rights (MOFA/OHCHR)



Related Links

[Humanitarian Organizations (in alphabetical order)]

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