4th Quarterly, 2005 No.138

BLHRRI Hold its 63rd General Meeting

On February 24, 2006, BLHRRI held its 63rd General Meeting in Osaka. Recognizing the present national and international political and social conditions, the board of directors of the BLHRRI proposed bills for "the projects plan for 2006" and "the budget for fiscal 2006 (from April 1, 2006)," before the floor of 300 participants. The meeting began with an opening address by Professor Teraki, the Executive Director of BLHRRI. Mr. Kumisaka, the President of the BLL, and Mr. Yamamoto, representing the Director of the Osaka City Human Rights Office, gave congratulatory messages as guests.

The bills for the projects plan and the budget for 2006 were unanimously approved. The projects plan for 2006 consists of the following items:

1. Discrimination Based on Work and Descent

The UN Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights aims at concluding draft "principles and guidelines" on the issue of discrimination based on work and descent by appointing two Special Rapporteurs, who will make a comprehensive report on the issue by 2007. BLHRRI will assist by providing information on Buraku discrimination, continuing to organize our own research activities, and disseminating the results of our research.

2. Implementation of the "World Programme for Human Rights Education"

It is already the second year of the first phrase of the World Programme focusing on "human rights education in primary and secondary school systems." In Japan, the deliberative council on the pedagogy of human rights education, created by the Ministry of Education and Science, concluded and published its report the end of January this year. Also, the Law on the Promotion of Human Rights Education and Human Rights Awareness-Raising has entered its 6th year since enactment in 2000. We will effectively use each of these resources to further promote human rights education.

3. Development of Career Education based on Human Rights and Dowa Education

The government programs for deregulating and streamlining administrative reform have extended their scope to formal education by allowing children and parents to choose their own preferred public schools (primary and junior high) for enrollment from within their own school districts. This will accelerate the widening of academic gaps between schools and threaten children's right to learn. To oppose both the privatization of education and the prioritizing of the right to education for only limited groups of children, career education based on Dowa Education must be developed and a new path of human rights education must be explored. We will work for the development of career education.

4. Early enactment of a Law for Remedies of Human Rights Violations

Considering the continuing occurrence of human rights abuses and discrimination in Japan, the establishment of national human rights institutions in the Asia and Pacific region, recommendations given to Japan by human rights treaty bodies, and the adoption of more than 500 resolutions by local governments calling for the establishment of an independent and effective national human rights commission, we call for the establishment of a Law for Remedies of Human Rights Violations (tentative title) at the earliest possible opportunity. We will continue our research activities to advocate this move.

5. Calling for a National Survey to Assess the Actual Conditions of Buraku

Since 1993, the government has not conducted a survey to assess the actual conditions of Buraku discrimination. It has been four years since the "special measures" were terminated. Changes in Buraku conditions have taken place since that time, so it is essential for the government to assess the current situation of Buraku discrimination through conducting a fact-finding survey.

Other plans include:

  • Initiatives for community building to ensure full respect for the human rights of all people.
  • Initiatives for the establishment of a human rights legal system in Japan.
  • Initiatives in relation to the "revision" of the Constitution of Japan.
  • Initiatives in relation to the illegal acquisition of extracts of family registers.
  • The third request for a retrial of "Sayama Case" and the democratization of the judicial system.
  • Working towards the establishment of a graduate university of international human rights.

After the General Meeting a memorial lecture was given by Mr. Fumihiko Takayama, a non-fiction writer who recently published "Survive! for That Day ? the World of Levelers," a biography of Jiichiro Matsumoto, the leader of Buraku liberation movement. Next continues with the article about Jiichiro Matsumoto.

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