Yamashiro to address infringements on Okinawans’ rights at UN Human Rights Council in June

Yamashiro to address infringements on Okinawans’ rights at UN Human Rights Council in June

On May 16 at the Prefectural Government Office in Naha, Okinawa Peace Movement Center Chairman Hiroji Yamashiro (center) voices his desire to bring attention to how freedom of expression is being infringed in Okinawa.


May 16, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo online edition

On May 16 the All Okinawa Council for Human Rights (which has previously been referred to as the Okinawa International Human Rights Study Group), jointly chaired by Jun Shimabukuro and Eiichi Hoshino, made an announcement at a press conference with Okinawa Peace Movement Center Chairman Hiroji Yamashiro at the Prefectural Government Office. The announcement revealed that in mid-June the Council and Yamashiro will visit the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, where Yamashiro is prepared to deliver a speech. Yamashiro will start by addressing his arrest while protesting US military facility construction in Takae, Higashi Village, and his 5-month detention following his arrest. From there he will draw attention to how freedom of expression is being infringed in Okinawa.

At the press conference, Yamashiro rhetorically asked if international standards really permit the word of the law to be used for restricting forms of expression such as protest. He assured that, “The international community is taking notice of how democracy is being inhibited in Japan.” In addition, he voiced his desire to bring attention to the fact that things that should not be taking place under international law are occurring in Okinawa.

UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye, who came to Japan in April last year to investigate freedom of expression there, will deliver a report concerning Japan at the UN Human Rights Council in June as well. The report from All Okinawa Council for Human Rights, the speech by Yamashiro, and the report from Kaye will all be parts of a symposium on the status of human rights in Okinawa.

The All Okinawa Council on Human Rights is accepting donations to cover the costs and travel expenses related to this symposium. Contributions can be made online at the following URL: https://japangiving.jp/campaigns/5192

This symposium will require 500,000 yen altogether, and contributors can earn certain gifts for their donations. Giving 5,000 yen earns a message of appreciation and a copy of the written report, 10,000 yen earns the contributor’s name published on the All Okinawa Council for Human Rights blog, and contributors of 30,000 yen will be invited to an information session and lecture session hosted by the Council.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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