Buraku Liberation News September 1999 No.110

BLL Criticizes the Report of the Council on the Promotion of Human Rights Protection. 

This is a statement made by the BLL in reaction to the report released by the Council on the Promotion of Human Rights Protection on 29 July 1999. The Council was established in May 1998 and is mandated by the Law of Promotion of Measures for Human Rights Protection. (Please see July 1999 issue of BLN)

The Buraku Liberation League 

29 July, 1999

The Council on the Promotion of Human Rights Protection submitted today its report entitled "Report on the Basic Matters Concerning the Comprehensive Promotion of the Policies with Regard to Education and Awareness-Raising for a Better Understanding of the Philosophy of Respect for Human Rights among Citizens" to three relevant Ministers, including Justice Minister.

After the announcement of its draft report on 18 June, the Council had accepted comments from public over a monthly period, and considered them on 21 July. However, the final Report of the Council had almost no revision from the draft report.

Immediately after the announcement of the draft report, the BLL had pointed out its problems and urged the Council to review them. In particular, the BLL had strongly demanded: (i) to consider the background of how and why the Council was established; (ii) to propose legislative measures; (iii) to explicitly mention the responsibility of the state; (iv) to consider how the government should promote human rights education. The Council, however, did not respect our demands. Therefore, we would like to firmly protest such closed and unilateral orientation of the Council.

The Council disregarded not only our view but also various opinions from the people, human rights organizations and local governments. In fact, the Council had received a rush of requests from various sectors suggesting that they include in the final report legislative measures, a clear statement of the state's responsibility and the establishment of a promotion system of human rights education. As many as 18,303 public comments had been sent to the Civil Liberties Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, most of which requested legislative measures, according to the Ministry. Nevertheless, the Council did not hear the voices of the public and announced the final Report. 

It was local governments implementing human rights education and awareness-raising programs that demanded legislative measures most vigorously. The All Japan Consultative Conference on Dowa Measures, which consists of local governments of thirty-six prefectures and nine government-ordinance-designated cities that have Dowa districts, submitted a petition to the Council calling for legislative measures. 

The petition specifically stated "We would like to request that the Council study legislative measures and other measures which will constitute the foundation for promoting education and awareness-raising activities." 

On 15 July, the National Association of Prefectural Governors adopted a resolution at its conference held in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture, calling for necessary measures, such as legislative measures, to be taken in order to enrich and strengthen the measures concerning human rights education and awareness-raising and concerning the remedy of victims of human rights violations. They later submitted a petition to the government. However, these voices were completely ignored.

In addition, many other organizations, including political parties, organizations of people with disabilities, women's organizations and trade unions, submitted comments calling for legislative measures.

As mentioned above, people and organizations from many sectors have demanded legislative measures. They found it indispensable for the government to clearly clarify principles and objectives as well as to explicitly recognize the state responsibility in order to promote human rights education and awareness-raising programs as one of the important policies. They also found it important for the government to stipulate in law concrete implementing measures and financial measures.

The Council consistently refused to include legislative measures in its report, while it included the necessity of administrative and financial measures pushed by rising public opinions. 

The Chairperson of the Council reportedly stated "Human rights education and awareness-raising, indicated by the report of the Council, can be implemented without legislation." However, how can the system, such as the assignment of additional teachers for Dowa education be maintained without legal background ? 

It suggests that the Council does not think at all about concrete measures about the system of promotion of human rights education and awareness-raising.

In March 1999, the BLL released a draft entitled the "General Principles of Law Concerning the Promotion of Human Rights Education and Awareness-raising". This draft suggested concrete measures, such as: the implementation of systematic human rights education and awareness-raising programs through school and social education; training for trainers of human rights education and awareness-raising; the establishment of higher education institutions; and the development of research institutions. 

It also proposed the establishment of a Conference for the Promotion of Human Rights Education and Awareness-raising, placing the Prime Minister as Chair. These principles were made, based on the ideas that the promotion of human rights education which the UN designed is indispensable for a solution of the Dowa issue, as well as other kinds of human rights issues.

The Council disregarded public opinion and failed to include the necessity of legislative measures in their Report. The BLL strongly protests the closed and unilateral orientation of the Council. 

The BLL would like to express that they will continue to strengthen the campaign to enact a law on human rights education and awareness-raising, with a view to solving Dowa and other human rights issues currently existing. 

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