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JAPAN – Civil society urge government to address CERD recommendations

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In February 2010, Japan was reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

In February 2010, Japan was reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Following the review, the concluding observations were released in
March, including various human rights issues most of which were pointed
out in the previous observations.

These observations include: Recommendation No. 9 – to consider adopting
specific legislation to outlaw direct and indirect racial
discrimination; Recommendation No. 12 – the establishment of an
independent human rights institution; and Recommendation No. 29 – to
consider making the optional declaration provided for in article 14 of
the Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive
and consider individual complaints.   

Following the release of the observations, several civil society groups
and individuals including Citizens' Council for Human Rights Japan
(CCHRJ), International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and
Racism (IMADR), and Amnesty International Japan, which have long
tackled the human rights issues, submitted a 'Statement of request
regarding the concluding observations by the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination' to urge the Japanese government
for the earlier achievement of the recommendations in particular
mentioned above.

Please read the 'Statement of Request ' here.


To Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

To Justice Minister Keiko Chiba

To Minister of Foreign Affairs
Katsuya Okada

April 21 2010

Statement of request regarding the concluding observations by the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination

In February 2010, the Committee considered the
combined reports of Japan at its meetings, then consequently adopted the
concluding observations in 16 March 2010.

‘Join Action for earlier
establishment of National
Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and realization of optional
protocols' submitted the ‘Joint Statement of request regarding
the establishment
of NHRI and ratification of optional protocols' to
the Japanese government in January 2010. We requested the Japanese government for earlier
establishment of NHRI and ratification
of optional protocols which stipulate individual communications or the declaration to
accept the clause which defines the system. As a result of the first review by one of UN Treaty Bodies since the new administration came into power, these two issues were again included in the concluding observations. We thus request the Japanese
government to take
these recommendations in serious manner and ensure to achieve these as
soon as possible.   

1. Establishment of NHRI together
with anti – discrimination law 

In recommendation No. 9, the Committee asks to consider adopting specific legislation to outlaw direct
and indirect racial discrimination and to cover all rights protected by
the Convention. Enactment
of special law was also mentioned in recommendation
No. 10 of the previous observations in 2001. Mr. Jorge Bustamante, UN
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, made the same point
in the press release on 31 March 2010 after he completed his mission on
the human rights situation in Japan.

Also, in recommendation No. 12, the Committee asks for the draft and adoption
of human rights protection bill, establishment of a legal complaints
mechanism and the establishment of NHRI in accordance with the Paris
Principles. Similar
recommendations were also adopted
in recommendation
No. 12 of the concluding observations in 2001.

2. Acceptance of individual communication

In recommendation No. 29, the
Committee requests for the declaration to accept individual communications which is provided in the article
14 of the Convention. The same recommendation was also made in the
recommendation No. 24 of the concluding observations in 2001.

To end human rights violations,
it is crucial that the victims satisfy the legal settlements which
should be in line with international human rights standards. To accept
the individual communications will show that Japan respects the
international human rights standards and is willing to apply the
standards at domestic level. 

Although as a matter of fact,
there are human rights discriminations in Japan, neither NHRI that
solves human rights violations nor ‘national anti – discrimination law'
exist in the country. Individual communications which is internationally
accepted is also not available. Several UN treaty bodies and other
human rights mechanisms repeatedly point out that Japan should not leave
the situation as it is and properly address in appropriate manner.
Especially in recommendation No. 33, the Committee requests Japan to
update the progress within one year regarding the recommendation No. 12.

We hereby request Japanese
government to address especially the two issues above and take necessary
measures as early as possible.