2017年6月22日木曜日

Summary of the UNHRC Side Event on "Freedom of Expression in Okinawa" (June 16, 2017)



IMADR wrote this summary of the UNHRC side event on "Freedom of Expression in Okinawa."

“Open space for protest must be created in Okinawa”, collective voice to Japan (16 June 2017)



Oral Statement by Hiromi Yamashiro (June 15, 2017)

 

Hiromi Yamashiro addressed infringements on Okinawans’ rights at UN Human Rights Council on 15 June. Here is his oral statement.

*******

Thank you Mr. President.

I am Hiroji Yamashiro. I lead the peaceful protest movement against human rights violations by the U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Japan.

The Governments of Japan and the U.S. are building military bases in Okinawa despite the strong opposition from Okinawan people.

Civilians are protesting the militarization everyday.

The Government of Japan dispatched large police forces in Okinawa to oppress and violently remove those civilians.

In the protest, I was arrested for a minor offence, followed by two retroactive arrests. I was detained for 5 months. I was not allowed to see anyone except lawyers. Not even my family. I was forced to confess and give up the protest activity. These are the clear human rights violations by the authorities.

However I and Okinawan people will never bow to oppression.

I demand the Government of Japan to stop human rights violations, and respect the Okinawan people’s will against the construction of new U.S. and Japanese military bases.

Thank you Mr. President

*******

Organisations1:
Franciscans International
International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
All Okinawa Council for Human Rights, NGO without consultative status, also shares the views expressed in this statement.

2017年6月10日土曜日

Geneva Side Event on Freedom of Expression in Okinawa (June 16)

The flyer for the Geneva side event on Freedom of Expression in Okinawa is out now.

The webcast will be streamed here: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-ii/



Yamashiro to address infringements on Okinawans’ rights at UN Human Rights Council in June (May 30, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo)

A single person, a world of difference By Kaoru Yamaguchi, Amnesty International Japan (19 May 2017, Kaoru Yamaguchi, Amnesty International Japan)

Freedom of Expression Under Siege in Okinawa: The Abe government has been particularly harsh on cracking down on dissent in Okinawa. By Taisuke Komatsu (June 06, 2017)

The All Okinawa Council on Human Rights is accepting donations to cover the costs and travel expenses related to this symposium. Contributions can be made online at the following URL: https://japangiving.jp/campaigns/5192 (in Japanese)

2017年6月1日木曜日

Comments by the State is also available



A/HRC/35/22/Add.5
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on his mission to Japan: comments by the State

Search "Japan" in the following page.

35th session of the Human Rights Council: Reports

2017年5月31日水曜日

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on his mission to Japan

A/HRC/35/22/Add.1 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on his mission to Japan

The report now is available in the following page. (Search "Japan")

35th session of the Human Rights Council: Reports

Prof. David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur, mentioned Okinawa in the following 4 paragraphs.

< Main Findings on Public demonstrations >

59. The Special Rapporteur also shared his concerns about public protest, in particular in Okinawa, with the Coast Guard. He communicated to the authorities in 2015 his concern regarding allegations of disproportionate restrictions on protest activity taking place in Okinawa.  The Special Rapporteur has received credible reports of excessive use of force and multiple arrests. He was especially concerned by reports on the use of force against journalists filming the protests. As much as the protection of national security provides for the implementation of restrictions in certain areas, careful review processes must be in place to avoid undue restrictions. Particular attention must be paid to all the reported events of confrontation with journalists, considering the vital importance of ensuring full access to information to the public on the ongoing confrontations. The Special Rapporteur has received significant reports of continuing restrictions on expression and protest in Okinawa, which raise legitimate concerns about the availability of space for dissent and access to information for those throughout Japan about the situation there.

60. In one recent case, relevant to the Special Rapporteur’s concerns expressed during the visit, in October of 2016, Hiroji Yamashiro, the head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, was arrested on suspicion of cutting barbed wire near a U.S. military helipad construction site in Higashi, northern Okinawa.  He was also charged with obstructing relocation work at Camp Schwab in the Henoko area of Nago and injuring a Defense Ministry official by grabbing the official’s shoulders and shaking him. Mr. Yamashiro pleaded not guilty to the charges of forcible obstruction of business and assault, but admitted to the charge of property destruction for cutting the barbed wire. Mr. Yamashiro had been detained for five months without trial. Such a lengthy detention seems disproportionate to Mr. Yamashiro’s alleged actions. At the time of this writing, Mr. Yamashiro has been released from custody, but the Special Rapporteur is concerned that this government action could chill expression and particularly public protest and dissent.

< Recommendations on Media independence >

67. Public and private broadcast media as well as print media groups must remain vigilant against any form of direct and indirect pressure on their editorial activities, in particular guaranteeing full support and protection to journalists investigating and commenting on controversial topics. Particular attention must be paid to the support of journalists investigating issues of great sensitivity, such as protests against military activity in Okinawa, the impact of nuclear activities and disasters, and Japan’s role in the Second World War.

72. Based on his visit and information subsequently received in connection with the visit, the Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned about the pressures placed on public protest in Okinawa. While he understands the pressures placed upon them, public authorities, especially law enforcement, should make every effort to enable such protest and dissent, including the coverage of such activities by the media. Public demonization of protesters, including by disproportionate penalties imposed on them, undermine the fundamental freedom all Japanese enjoy to express their opposition to public policies.

Letter to Japan on the the ‘conspiracy’ bill (May 18, 2017)

Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy Joseph Cannataci of Malta sent a letter to Japan on the the ‘conspiracy’ bill.

Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy (PDF)


Media Coverage
Japan protests against U.N. expert's queries on bill to fight terrorism (May 23, 2017 Reuters)

Joint Urgent Appeal concerning the arrest and detention of Mr. Hiroji Yamashiro (February 28, 2017)

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and 3 Special Rapporteurs expressed concern about the arrest and detention of Hiroji Yamashiro, who heads the Okinawa Peace Action Center, in a letter of February 28 to the Japanese authorities.

The Japanese government sent a response to the statement in April.

Following documents became available on May 28.

Joint Urgent Appeal: Mandates of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (PDF)

Reply of the Government of Japan to the Joint Urgent Appeal from Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council (PDF)


Media Coverage:
UN 'concerned' about Japanese activist's detention (May 28, 2017 NHK World)