Statement by Minister Takashi Ashiki of Japan
on Item 69 (a): Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Implementation of Human Rights Instruments
Sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
20 October 2009
Human rights are universal. They apply to, and are valued by, the entire international community. Japan therefore firmly believes they must be protected and promoted throughout the world. It also believes that in every country, the establishment and promotion of human rights forms an essential basis for political and economical development and also has a direct connection to whether the world as a whole is able to exist in peace and stability. Based on these convictions, Japan attaches great importance to the protection and promotion of human rights as one of the main pillars of its foreign policy.
The Human Rights Council is playing a significant role in broadening the areas within the international society in which our common values-human rights and fundamental freedoms -- are assured. For its part, Japan made positive contributions to the discussions that led to the establishment of the council and has served as a member since that time, supporting its activities with a view to ensuring that it is able to play the important role expected of it by the international community. However, there are still issues that need to be addressed if the council is to make progress and become a truly effective body. Its role and functions are to be carefully reviewed by the year 2011, and thus it stands now at an especially important juncture. Japan for its part is committed to participating in the upcoming discussions on the review of the council.
Japan faithfully implements all the treaties that it has ratified. In July of this year, for example, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered Japan's sixth periodic report. In response to such reviews, Japan will continue to give serious consideration to how it can most effectively implement the treaties and create a society in which human rights are more fully respected.
Japan attaches great importance to the role being played by the United Nations in establishing universal norms and standards in the area of human rights. For that reason, in July of this year it ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The convention recognizes enforced disappearance as a criminal activity subject to punitive measures, and parties are expected to work to prevent such crimes from occurring. Japan hopes that the many countries that have not yet ratified the convention will recognize its significance and commence the work of ratification, so that the convention will enter into force in the near future.
With regard to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Japan will continue the work in which it is engaging so that it will be able to ratify the convention at the earliest possible date.
In order to assure that human rights are respected throughout the international community, it is essential that we take comprehensive measures in areas such as peace and development. This in turn will take us closer to achieving human security: protecting people from critical and pervasive threats to their survival, dignity and livelihoods and helping them to realize their full potential.
At the same time, the development of democracy is an important basis for the efforts of the international community to protect and promote human rights as a means of achieving sustainable peace, stability and prosperity. As a democratic country that has achieved a high degree of economic development, Japan sees the provision of assistance for the achievement of democracy as one of the most important objectives of its foreign policy. As part of the assistance it provides to enhance the rule of law and democratization, Japan has provided assistance for the purpose of reinforcing legal systems and training legal experts in many countries, including among others Cambodia, Viet Nam, Uzbekistan, and Nepal.
In conclusion, I would just like to affirm that Japan intends to continue to make constructive efforts in the area of human rights, in cooperation with other members of the international community, especially the United Nations.
Thank you very much.
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