Statement by Dr. Nobuko Kurosaki
Alternate Representative of Japan
on Implementation of human rights instruments (Item 64(a))
63rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
21 October 2008
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Government of Japan firmly believes that human rights are universal values. They must therefore be promoted and protected in every part of the world, which makes the role played by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights absolutely essential. We have the utmost appreciation for the many achievements by the former High Commissioner, Ms. Arbour, who held office during the difficult transitional period during which the Commission on Human Rights was replaced the Human Rights Council, and we expect the new Commissioner, Ms. Pillay, will display equal commitment to her task. For our part, we will continue to cooperate fully with her and her office.
Japan has ratified the six principal international human rights instruments and has been implementing them in good faith. Furthermore, the week ending 10 December, which is the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted, is observed in Japan as "Human Rights Week." This annual, nationwide observance was initiated the year after the adoption of the UDHR in order to disseminate and promote the idea of respect for human rights. This year, when we observe the sixtieth anniversary of the UDHR, we intend to take the opportunity to do even more to raise awareness of the importance of the UDHR by organizing special commemorative events.
Japan also submitted the governmental reports required under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in April, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in August. In addition, we underwent the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May and our governmental report to the Human Rights Committee was reviewed last week. We shall continue to faithfully implement international human rights instruments, strive to find more effective ways of implementing them through treaty body reviews and make efforts truly to achieve a society in which human rights are more fully respected.
Japan attaches great importance to the role of the United Nations in establishing universal standards and norms in the field of human rights.
Last year, Japan signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As we believe these instruments will help greatly to promote the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, we are now engaged in deliberations among the related ministries and agencies toward ratifying them at the earliest date possible.
The Human Rights Council now stands at a critical juncture. We should soon be able to determine whether it is to become a truly effective organization, one that can meet the expectations of the international community. For its part, Japan is determined to continue to provide it with the support it needs to achieve that aim.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is expected to become the one of the important pillars of the Human Rights Council. As a member of the Council, Japan underwent the UPR review in May. It is our sincere hope that if it is impartial and efficient on the one hand, and effective on the other, this mechanism, together with the follow-up measures that are taken, will prove useful to the Council, and Japan intends to contribute to this end by participating actively in reviews of other countries.
As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, "the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." It is therefore essential to make comprehensive efforts in a wide range of areas, including peace and development, to secure human rights and fundamental freedoms. In doing so, we shall be working to realize human security which seeks to protect each individual's existence, life and dignity from serious threats, and to empower them to realize one's full potential.
Through these efforts, we strongly hope to create "a world in which human beings shall enjoy...freedom from fear and want" and in which human rights will be protected and promoted. Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community to this end.
Thank you very much.
Back to Index