Okinawa Peace Award given to refugee support group engaged in mutual aid
August 26, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On August 25, Governor Takeshi Onaga announced that the eighth Okinawa Peace Award will be given to the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), a registered NPO based in Tokyo and headed by Eri Ishikawa. The Okinawa Peace Award is presented to individuals and organizations engaged in activities that contribute to the construction and maintenance of peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
JAR works to support each and every refugee, helping them with the procedures required to obtain refugee status and ensuring that they have access to health care, food and shelter from the time that they arrive in Japan until they are able to regain independence. It receives consultations from roughly 600 people in around 60 countries each year. It cooperates and works together with governments and local organizations in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Okinawa Peace Award Committee Selection Committee, chaired by Mitsubishi Research Institute board member Hiroshi Komiyama, explained that JAR was selected because “The spirit of mutual assistance and ‘achieving a society where multiple cultures coexist’ which is at the root of their activities is in accord with the spirit of the Okinawa Peace Award, which was founded upon Okinawa’s historical and cultural features, including the experience of the Battle of Okinawa and other hardships, and the acceptance of various cultures.”
The Award was founded in 2002, and is presented once every two years. This is the first time a recipient has been decided since Governor Onaga took office. “I would like to see Okinawa’s spirit conveyed to the world, especially the Asia-Pacific region, and for people to learn about what Okinawa is like. I hope that the Award gains visibility and continues to be presented,” said Onaga.
The award ceremony will be held at the Loisir Hotel Naha in Naha City on October 31.
Achieving peace and non-violence from Japan
Eri Ishikawa, Chair of the Board of the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)
I want to share my happiness at being presented this award with the refugees and supporters I work with. Refugees who have fled to escape conflict and human rights abuses help us reaffirm the value of peace, freedom and democracy. I hope to continue to contribute from Japan to achieve even better support for the sake of refugees, and to achieve a world of peace and non-violence together with refugees.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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