Statement by Dr. Atsuko Heshiki
Alternate Representative of Japan
on item 69 (a): Implementation of Human Rights Instrumentst
Sixty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
18 October 2011
Human rights are universal values which are commonly accepted throughout the international community. Japan hopes that the protection and promotion of human rights is assured everywhere in the world, and is determined to advance toward this goal. The assurance of fundamental human rights means the respect for the existence, life and dignity of human beings, and it requires the international community to take comprehensive measures in various fields including peace and development.
The development of democracy is an important foundation to the promotion and establishment of human rights, which leads to the political and economic development for every country, and further to the peace and stability of the international community. Japan has long recognized the protection and promotion of human rights as one of its most important diplomatic policies and has provided many countries with support aiming to establish democracy, including assistance to build their legal systems. In addition, recent movements pursuing democracy, symbolized by the Arab Spring, can have an effect in promoting fundamental freedoms, human rights and dignities of individuals. The international community should respond to this new development positively.
The Human Rights Council plays a critical role in protecting human rights around the globe. Japan has continuously cooperated with the Council in strengthening its functions since its creation. Japan has provided full support to the Special Procedures, which play complementary roles with the Universal Periodic Review. This year, Japan extended its standing invitation to the Special Rapporteurs. Based on these efforts, Japan is standing as a candidate at the election to the Human Rights Council in 2012. We believe that Japan can contribute to the Council by enhancing its abilities to tackle new human rights issues flexibly and responsively.
Japan is faithfully implementing international conventions on human rights which it has concluded. Among them, it welcomes that the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance entered into force in December last year. Japan submitted its State Report to the Committee against Torture (CAT) this July, and also provided its follow-up to the concluding observation of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) this August. Japan remains committed to responding sincerely to the recommendations of treaty bodies and advice from the international community to protect and promote human rights in all areas.
The Ministerial Conference of Japan adopted the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality, which set concrete performance objectives for each of the priority fields and expressed the promotion of positive actions to increase the share of women in leadership positions. Apart from implementing its Basic Plan at the national level, Japan is also committed to contributing to the effective activities of international agencies, including UN Women.
With regard to the rights of persons with disabilities, it is one of our most important goals to realize a society where everyone can enjoy life and respect each other, regardless of whether he or she has disabilities or not. Japan signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and is currently preparing for its conclusion, while hearing the opinions of relevant actors including people with disabilities and their families. This July, the Government of Japan amended the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities making reference to the concept of reasonable accommodation, and decided to establish the Board on Policies Regarding Persons with Disabilities by next August to monitor the implementation of the national policies.
In conclusion, Japan supports the efforts to reform the international frameworks for the protection and promotion of human rights, including the further effectiveness and efficiency of the treaty bodies. In addition, it will cooperate with every partner and actively participate in the discussion to promote effective implementation of these frameworks.
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