Report submitted to UN requesting return of Ryukyuan remains

April 7, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 6, the Association of Comprehensive Studies for Independence of the Lew Chewans (ACSILs) disclosed that they had submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights a report requesting that Japanese researchers return the remains of the Ryukyuans they brought out of Mumujana grave in Nakijin Village. The ACSILs claims that the researchers infringed on “the right to conduct traditional rituals” of Indigenous Peoples.

The ACSILs also requested a return of original documents of the Amity Treaties created by the Ryukyu Kingdom with the United States, France, and the Netherlands from 1854 to 1859. These documents have been in the possession of the Japanese government. The ACSILs aims to have the issue judged at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Japanese government by the UN Human Rights Council in November.

The report is dated March 22. Referring to the annexation of the Ryukyus, known as “the Ryukyu Disposal” in 1879, the report pointed out that the Ryukyu islands have been “the subject of discrimination, exploitation, and control.” The ACSILs describe the Ryukyu independence movement as “the movement to restore the sovereignty of the Ryukyu peoples’ nation” and urge the Japanese government “to start demilitarization and decolonization.”

Regarding the taking of Ryukyuan remains, the report claims that it is in violation of Article 12 of the Declaration of the UN on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the right to conduct traditional ceremonies). The report called for a full investigation by the government and the return of remains.

As for the original treaty documents being kept by the Japanese government, the ACSILs claims it violates the UN Declaration and Liberty Rules, and requests they be immediately returned to Okinawa prefecture.

In addition to that, the report stressed that riot police officials called Okinawan citizens protesting US military helipad construction in the Northern Training Area “barbarians”. The report is published online at ACSILs website.

The Okinawa International Human Rights Study Group also submitted four reports to UPR on March 30.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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