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Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
on Human Rights Situations (Item 70(c))

Third Committee
Sixty-second Session of the General Assembly
New York
30 October 2007

Mr. Chairman,

Human rights are the birthright of the people of every nation, and no government may shirk its responsibility to protect and promote them. The protection and promotion of human rights is also a legitimate concern of the international community, as stipulated in the Vienna Declaration and the Programme of Action.

However, to protect and promote human rights in practice, we must take into account the respective situations of each country concerned with regard to its history, tradition and culture.

Mr. Chairman,

The establishment of the Human Rights Council is a major milestone to promote human rights globally. The resolution 5/1 on institution building lays the ground for future work of the Council. We hope the resolution will be adopted promptly by the General Assembly without amendment.

Japan hopes that, building on the accomplishments of its predecessor, the Human Rights Council will develop into a forum that contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights based on the principle of cooperation and genuine dialogue. It should strengthen the capacity of states to comply with their human rights obligations. It also hopes the Council will function more effectively, particularly in addressing massive and grave violations of human rights, to enable the international community to act decisively in this area, and always in a way that is responsive to the specific conditions and circumstances of the country concerned.

Japan is determined to play an active and constructive role as a member of the Council. We also support the efforts of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen its role to provide support and assistance to countries in need.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the years, the overall human rights situation in the world has improved, in pace with the general trend in democratization and increased respect for the rule of law. In a number of places, however, we continue to witness grave violations of human rights. The United Nations, and therefore the international community, must continue to address them effectively.

In this connection, we would like to express our deep appreciation to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn. We call upon the DPRK to respond to the call of the international community, and allow the Special Rapporteur to enter the country without delay.

The issue of the abductions carried out by the DPRK poses a serious challenge to human dignity. It is essential that the international community send a firm message calling for the resolution of the abduction issue as early as possible, so that the victims and their families may be reunited and they have a chance to regain the happiness they enjoyed earlier in their lives.

Japan will continue to work through dialogue towards the resolution of this issue and other relevant issues including the settlement of the "unfortunate past" in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration. Japan will consult with the DPRK on the concrete measures that both sides might take, and ensure they are implemented. We urge the DPRK to respond to our requests as it agreed to do at the Six-Party Talks, and to address outstanding issues of concern, including the abduction issue.

Mr. Chairman,

The situation in Myanmar is another source of concern. It is regrettable that when it should have exercised maximum restraint, the authorities instead used force against peaceful demonstrators, resulting in heavy casualties, including the death of a Japanese citizen.

Japan therefore welcomes the Security Council Presidential Statement and the resolution of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Myanmar.

We hope that the Government of Myanmar will take steps to promote democratization, taking into account the wishes expressed through the protests by the people of Myanmar. Toward that end, we urge the government to engage in a genuine dialogue with a view to achieving national reconciliation, which entails resolving the situation peacefully and at its roots.

Japan supports the good offices of the Secretary-General, and the efforts of his Special Adviser Mr. Gambari. We welcome Mr. Gambari's forthcoming visit, and calls on the Government of Myanmar to extend its full cooperation to the United Nations.

Japan also welcomes the decision by the Government of Myanmar to permit the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. We will follow his mission closely and with great interest.

Mr. Chairman,

The international community should support all States that strive to improve their human rights situation by advancing democracy and strengthening the rule of law. Japan believes that when a country has strong democratic institutions, it contributes to peace and prosperity both at home and in the world as a whole. It therefore welcomes the recent positive developments in Nepal and Cambodia and will continue to support their self-help efforts.

In particular, Japan welcomes the adoption of the Internal Rules for the Khmer Rouge Trials last June, which can be expected to accelerate the judicial process in Cambodia. To meet the costs of the trials, Japan has made voluntary contributions of US$21.6 million, which represents forty percent of the total. It has also provided one of the international judges to the Supreme Court Chamber. It is our strong expectation that the trials will proceed promptly and fairly and that they will result in finally bringing to justice those who are guilty of committing truly heinous acts.

Based on its belief in the importance of the rule of law in international society, I am pleased to announce that Japan completed the accession procedure and became a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in October this year. Japan will participate actively in effective functioning of the ICC.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman,

Continuity is the source of strength. It is essential for all Member States to make continuing and constant efforts to promote and protect human rights around the world if the human rights situation is to improve. We should never interrupt our efforts or give up hope for the future. Empowerment of the individual is the most effective way to prevent human rights violation. No single violence shall be tolerated. I assure you that Japan for its part will continue to work to that end, in cooperation with the United Nations.

Thank you very much.

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