Statement by Ms. Yaeko Sumi
Alternate Representative of Japan
item 69 (a): Implementation of human rights instruments
67th Session of the General Assembly
23 October 2012
All human rights and fundamental freedoms are a legitimate concern of the international community, and each State has a responsibility to protect them. Based on this recognition, Japan has been engaged in the protection and promotion of human rights in the international community through dialogue and cooperation, taking into consideration the individual environment and various historical and cultural backgrounds of each State and region.
Full protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms has a universal value, and contributes to the establishment of pacific and prosperous societies, as well as the peace and stability of the international community. To that aim, it is essential for every State to conclude the core international human rights instruments and to make efforts to implement them.
Japan is faithfully implementing international human rights conventions. Japan submitted a State report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights this April. It withdrew its reservation to subparagraphs (b) and (c) of paragraph 2, Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this September.
Human rights treaty bodies play a significant role in ensuring the implementation of human rights instruments by States and in improving human rights situations in all States. Japan puts great importance on the intergovernmental process on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system. The central problem of the current system is that treaty bodies are having difficulties in fully implementing their duties as specified in the human rights treaties, such as consideration of State reports. Japan continues to constructively participate in the intergovernmental process, seeking further efficiency so that treaty bodies’ activities will effectively contribute to the improvement of the human rights situations in State parties.
Japan highly appreciates the role of the Human Rights Council in promoting human rights universally. It especially puts importance on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is a valuable system to encourage improvement of human rights situations in Member States through dialogue and cooperation. Japan made a voluntary follow-up last year under the conviction that such practice is useful to promote the effectiveness of this mechanism. We hope that voluntary follow-up will become the mainstream among Member States. Japan is glad to continue its cooperation regarding its second review, which is going to take place later this month.
Japan has been engaged towards the realization of a gender-equal society to ensure full participation of both men and women in various areas in accordance with the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality, adopted in December 2010. The Third Basic Plan strengthens the efforts on the temporary special measures mentioned in Article 4 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by setting more numerical targets, which was welcomed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Japan respects the activities of the Committee, which has been taking the leading role for 30 years, and continues its active cooperation with the Committee.
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. The Government of Japan amended the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities in July 2011, and accordingly established the Board on Policies Regarding Persons with Disabilities this May. This Board, whose members include persons with disabilities, not only makes recommendations on the basic plan of the national policy but also monitors its implementation. The new Basic Act stipulates that necessary and reasonable consideration should be provided to implement the removal of social barriers, with a view to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. This is the first provision within our domestic law to introduce the concept of reasonable accommodation, reflecting the spirit of the Convention. Japan will further take measures to protect rights of persons with disabilities, including possible amendments of law.
In conclusion, Japan supports the efforts to reform the international frameworks for the protection and promotion of human rights, and would like to constructively participate in the discussion to that aim. In this regard, it is standing as a candidate for the election of Human Rights Council this year, willing to contribute to the efforts of the Council. It is committed to cooperating with every partner for the effective implementation of the international frameworks.
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