International NGO visits Henoko and Takae and recommends to appeal on the world stage

International NGO visits Henoko and Takae and recommends to appeal on the world stage

On January 15, at Takae in Higashi Village, Daisuke Shirane interviewed members of Heripaddo iranai Jumin no kai (Resident Group against the Helipad).

January 16, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 15, Daisuke Shirane, member of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), an international non-governmental organization devoted to eliminating discrimination through United Nations agencies, visited the planned relocation area for the Futenma Air Station, Henoko in Nago, and the planned new helipad construction area at Takae in Higashi Village. Shirane also met residents opposed to the construction of the U.S. military base.

IMADR is a United Nations authorized NGO that holds consultative status. From January 14, Shirane visited both Futenma and Kadena air bases and participated in a study group with a non-governmental organization, the Association of Indigenous Peoples in the Ryukyus.

At Takae, Shirane suggested to local residents that they take advantage of the early-warning measures and emergency procedures at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to be held in February. These procedures require the government of the country where the problem exists to provide information. In some cases, the Committee recommends that the situation be rectified. Although such a recommendation is not legally binding, it would send a strong message to the Japanese government and to the international community.

Shirane stressed that the Universal Periodic Review, which reviews human rights situation of all countries, will focus on Japan in October, so lobbying from Okinawa will be very important. A recommendation from any of the treaty agencies concerned with likes of children’s or women’s rights would have great impact. Regarding the U.S. military bases in Okinawa he stated, “I never understood the full extent of the burden on local residents until I actually saw it for myself. The situation in which there is no jurisdiction over U.S. military related accidents and crimes is unfair and abnormal on an international level. This should by given more attention by the United Nations.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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