Statement by Ms. Azusa Shinohara
Alternate Representative of Japan
Agenda item 69(c): Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms
Sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
27 October 2010
The promotion and protection of human rights, which are universally valued by the international community, is a pillar of the foreign policy of Japan. Indeed, every government has among its most basic responsibilities the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is true that no country discharges this responsibility perfectly. It is also true that the means that are used to address problems and the degree to which success is achieved may vary. But violations of human rights cannot be excused on the basis of a country's level of economic development, its culture, customs, political or economic system. And Japan believes that the promotion and protection of human rights leads to peace and stability in the world we share.
Japan values dialogue and cooperation when they promote and protect human rights. It is for this reason that it engages in human rights dialogues, principally with countries in Asia. Its aim in every instance is for each country to deepen its understanding of the other's human rights situation and the efforts it is making to improve it, and to arrive at a common understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. These dialogues have contributed to concrete forms of cooperation, such as assistance for judicial system reform.
The Japanese government believes that human rights and democracy are advanced when every individual does his or her part. To put it another way, the promotion and protection of human rights and the consolidation of democracy can only take place when an enlightened citizenry and civil society are cultivated through unceasing efforts to empower individuals. Thus the development of democracy is inseparable from the development and capacity-building of the individual. Japan is therefore working to strengthen the capabilities of every individual and create communities where everyone is able to realize his or her potential and live in dignity. And it grounds its efforts in the concept of human security, which it has advocated for some time.
At the fifteenth session of the Human Rights Council last month, Japan presented a resolution entitled "Advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia," which was one outcome of the human rights dialogue between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Japan, and it was adopted by consensus. I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for all the support the resolution received and also the hope that it will provide the basis for progress in this area by facilitating concrete cooperation between the international community and Cambodia. For its part, Japan will continue to cooperate with the Cambodian Government on appropriate implementation of the civil code and the code of civil procedure that were drafted with our assistance, and on completion of the legal process under way in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
Discrimination against those suffering from leprosy and their families is still observed in the world. Although leprosy is a curable disease, misunderstandings still form the basis for prejudice and discrimination, and this is a situation that must be corrected. To that end, Japan contributed to the process by which the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council drafted principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. It also presented to the Council a draft resolution on this subject that was adopted by consensus last month. To promote further recognition of this problem in the world, Japan intends to present another draft resolution to this Committee this year that it hopes will receive the support of all Member States.
In closing, Mr. Chairman,
I would just like to affirm that Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community, especially the United Nations, to promote and protect human rights, which are of critical concern to us all.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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