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Statement by Mr. Takashi Ashiki
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan
On Item 64: Report of the Human Rights Council

Third Committee
64th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
New York
29 October 2009

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to commend the Human Rights Council for the valuable work it has done since its inception three years ago. I also wish to say, however, that the Government of Japan believes the Report of the Council which is the product of the diligent efforts and in-depth discussions in which the Council engaged in Geneva, should be presented directly to the General Assembly, rather than to the Third Committee.

The Council has forty-seven elected members and it plays multiple roles. In addition to broadening understanding through international cooperation in the field of human rights, it has a mandate to respond quickly and flexibly to gross and systematic violations. The Third Committee, on the other hand, as a universal forum, allows all nations to express their views and gain an understanding of what other nations are doing in this area. We should therefore work together, taking advantage of each forum's strengths and the work they do, focusing on devising appropriate responses.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan is concerned about the fact that throughout the world victims of leprosy and their families often face serious discrimination. Although leprosy is now curable, prejudice and discrimination based on misunderstanding about the disease remain prevalent. We must act to eliminate this prejudice and discrimination.

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, and it presented a draft resolution on this subject to the Council, which was adopted by consensus at its twelfth session. In the next few years, Japan plans to sponsor a resolution in the General Assembly seeking international cooperation to eradicate discrimination against leprosy. Through this resolution and by other means, Japan will continue to play a leading role in efforts to eliminate discrimination in this area.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan will contribute actively to discussions on the review of work and functioning of the Human Rights Council that is to be carried out by the fifth year since its establishment. It will also endeavor, together with other members, to enable the Council to respond quickly, flexibly, and constructively to gross and systematic human rights violations, wherever they may occur. Finally, it will continue to support the OHCHR as it strengthens its activities to achieve positive results in the vitally important area of human rights.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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