- By Theme
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 (sexual violence in conflict, women, peace and security) 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.
Mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of the Secretary-General’s top priorities. UN Women is taking a lead to this end and its 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, 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, such as the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 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.
- General Assembly resolution “Situations of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (General Assembly)
- General Assembly resolution “Integrating volunteering into peace and development: the plan of action for the next decade and beyond” (70th and 67th Session of the General Assembly)
- Resolution of the Commission on the Status of Women “Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Natural Disasters” (58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women)
- General Assembly resolution “Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members” (65th Session of the General Assembly)
As the government places an importance on the activities of the Human Rights Council, Japan has been elected three times as a member of Council from its establishment in 2006 until 2015. We are looking forward to be elected as a member of the Council for term 2017 to 2019 at the election to be held in 2016.
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe clearly stated in his address at the Sixty-Eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 26 September, 2013, Japan further strengthens cooperation with the international community as well as assistance to developing countries with the belief that creating "a society in which women shine" will bring vigor to the world. Especially, Japan, as an initial member of the Executive Board, has contributed to and supported the work of UN Women including through various kind of funds or projects. In the field of women, peace and security, Japan has finalized its national action plan in 2015 to be steadily followed up, and builds up its contribution in this field in a close collaboration with the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
[ 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 such as collaboration with wide- ranging partners including humanitarian and development actors, disaster risk reduction, empowerment of women, capacity building and innovation, 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.
- General Assembly
- Third Committee
- Fourth Committee
- Security Council
- Economic and Social Council
- Commission of the Status of Women
- Commission of Social Development
- UN Women
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (MOFA/OHCHR)
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Main Human Rights Conventions
►International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Toward a World without Mines-Japan's Initiatives-(Pamphlet)
►International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
►Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Convention on the Rights of the Child
►International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
►Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
►International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
►Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Human Rights (UN Website)
- Third Committee (UN Website)
- Human Rights Council (OHCHR Website)
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR Website)
- Commission on the Status of Women (UN Women Website)
- Humanitarian Assistance/ Emergency Assistance (MoFA Website)
[Humanitarian Organizations (in alphabetical order)]
- Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF)
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
- UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) ►ReliefWeb
- UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
- World Food Programme (WFP)
►Financial Tracking Service