Hiroji Yamashiro reports back following June UN Human Rights Council statement

Hiroji Yamashiro reports back following June UN Human Rights Council statement

On July 15 in Naha, Hiroji Yamashiro (left) and others report on the activity at the UN Human Rights Council.

July 16, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 15, Chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Hiroji Yamashiro and others reported back about the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland in June, where Yamashiro delivered a statement. The All Okinawa Council for Human Rights hosted a debriefing session in Naha, with about 190 people in attendance.
The debriefing session speakers reported that the issues of the new base being built in Henoko as a replacement facility for Futenma Air Station and the violation of Okinawans’ human rights were raised at the UN. They claimed that they want to deepen ties with the international community and act as a conduit for Okinawans’ voices in advance of Japan’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the Human Rights Council in November.

Yamashiro addressed riot police squads’ interactions with citizens sit-in protesting new base construction, saying that it is beyond Okinawans’ understanding how the Henoko site has been illegally agreed upon. He likened the way Okinawan citizens are being carelessly mowed down and injured to how Ryukyuans were made to surrender by soldiers when the Ryukyu Kingdom was annexed by Japan in the Meiji Period. In addition, he voiced his intent to bring attention to these issues as long as righteousness is on the Okinawan people’s side.

The lawyer Nozomi Kanetaka criticized the Japanese government’s objection to the UN special rapporteur’s report, saying: “The rapporteur is requesting a dialogue. However, the Japanese government’s rejective attitude does not seem like that of a member state to the Human Rights Council.”

Since Japan’s courts have ruled in favor of the national government in previous cases regarding Henoko, Kanetaka rhetorically asked if the U.S.-Japan security treaty is the only thing Japan protects under international law. He wants to discuss how to use what has been gained through this UN action in future court proceedings.

Among others, Professor Jun Shimabukuro and Professor Eiichi Hoshino of the University of the Ryukyus and reporter Takashi Abe of the Okinawa Times also spoke at the debriefing session.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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