Diplomatic Bluebook 2001


A. Human Rights and Democracy

1. Importance of Human Rights and Democracy as Universal Values

With the First World War, the Second World War, and the Cold War, the freedom, democracy, and fundamental human rights that Japan has adopted as its principles are becoming more broadly shared as universal values for the international community of the 21st century. Thus, promoting democracy and reinforcing respect for freedom and fundamental human rights have become pivotal issues for the international community. During 2000, in Asia, the people of Taiwan achieved a peaceful transition of power through a free election to a non-Kuomintang leader for the first time in Taiwan's history. In Europe, a peaceful transition of power was also achieved in Yugoslavia, with the collapse of the administration led by Slobodan Milosevic and the election of Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslavia's new president. Turning to Central and South America, in Chile former President Augusto Pinochet was charged with violations of human rights during Chile's martial law era after court rulings removed the immunity he had enjoyed as a senator-for-life.

As illustrated by these types of developments, in addition to efforts by individual countries, as well as by the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations, the cooperation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations is becoming increasingly important for promoting human rights and democracy.

2. Protection and Promotion of Human Rights

a) The UN Commission on Human Rights

The UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which met during March and April, called for the immediate improvement of various human rights situations. In October, considering the status of the armed confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians, the CHR held a special session to discuss the recent violence in the Occupied Territories and Israel and passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a human rights inquiry commission and other measures. At these and other fora, Japan contributed to the deliberations and served as a bridge between the countries of Asia, Africa, and other regions. During the year, Japan also served as the main sponsor, for the second year, of a resolution on the situations of human rights in Cambodia and played an active role by drafting this resolution and working to build a consensus with each country.

Japan also provides support for the human rights activities conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other UN organizations, and has contributed about US$800,000 to the various funds administered by the OHCHR including the Voluntary Fund for Advisory Service and Technical Assistance in the Field of Human Rights, which was established to support individual countries' efforts to improve their human rights situations.

b) Human Rights Dialogues

In addition to these types of global approaches, Japan also believes that it is important to foster mutual understanding through dialogues to resolve human rights problems. Accordingly, Japan regularly exchanges opinions concerning human rights through bilateral dialogues with other countries. During 2000, such exchanges included the Third Japan-China Human Rights Dialogue, which took place in January, as well as the First Japan-Iran Human Rights Dialogue, which was held in October.

3. Strengthening Democracy

Japan has long promoted cooperation for the strengthening of democracy and the protection and promotion of human rights in developing countries under the basic policy of Partnership for Democratic Development (PDD), which includes support for improving legal and electoral systems and for the training of judicial, administrative, and police officials. During 2000, Japan provided additional financial support toward promoting democratization at the two international conferences outlined below through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Japan Human Resources Development Fund (JHRDF).

a) "Towards a Community of Democracies" Ministerial Conference in Warsaw

The Community of Democracies Ministerial Conference took place on June 26 and 27 in Warsaw, Poland with the participation of 107 countries, including Japan. Approximately 60 percent of the national delegations were led by Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Some 14 international organizations also sent representatives, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, and the Council of Europe (CE). The conference participants adopted the Warsaw Declaration, whereby they agreed to respect and uphold certain core democratic principles and practices. The Japanese delegation was led by Ambassador Tatsuo Arima, the representative of the government of Japan and a special envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He explained Japan's active efforts toward global democratization at ministerial panels and other sessions. This conference was of great historical significance as the first global-scale, ministerial-level conference on democratization.

b) Fourth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies

The Fourth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies took place in the Republic of Benin from December 4 to 6. At this Conference, which was held under the initiative of new and restored democracies and attended by representatives from 103 countries, the fragile democracies shared their own experiences in the democratization process toward overcoming various problems and establishing firmer democratic foundations. The Japanese delegation presented a speech explaining Japan's efforts for democratization assistance and related activities.

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