UN Special Advisor explains importance of the Paris Principles

The House of Councillors closed its 154th session on July the 31st after deciding that it will continue deliberation of the Human Rights Protection Bill at the forthcoming extraordinary session of the Diet. As reported in Buraku Liberation News No. 123, the Bill contains several critical problems, which have led to demands for amendment from the Buraku Liberation League, Japan Bar Association, mass media and a number of other prominent human rights organizations.

At the beginning of July, a number of organizations including IMADR were successful in inviting Mr. Brian Burdekin, Special Advisor on National Institutions to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to Japan to highlight prerequisites for national human rights institutions. During his stay from July 5th through 9th, Mr. Burdekin had dialogues with concerned persons and bodies, regardless of their position on the Human Rights Protection Bill, and explained importance of the Paris Principles.

Prior to his arrival, some major Japanese newspapers reported that then United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson, had twice written to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. She reportedly expressed her concern about the independence of the proposed national human rights institution, the establishment of which is planned in the contentious Human Rights Protection Bill. The Ministry of Justice said on July the 2nd that Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama replied to Ms. Robinson stating that the Bill was drafted with sufficient reference to the Paris Principles. According to the Principles, national human rights institutions must be independent of governments in terms of staff, financing and facilities.