JAPAN: AHRC welcomes call for Japanese government to take up killings in Philippines

(Hong Kong, January 16, 2007) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Monday welcomed the submitting of a letter requesting the Japanese government to take up extrajudicial killings in the Philippines more forcefully with the government there.

A coalition of fourteen Japanese civil society groups submitted the letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on January 9.

They recalled that the prime minister had spoken to the president of the Philippines about the killings in December of last year, but noted that there had not been any sincere action to stop the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since then.

Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano, who visited the Philippines from January 10 to 12, also was a recipient of the letter.

“The AHRC strongly supports the campaigning and lobbying activities on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines initiated by the Japanese groups,” Basil Fernando, executive director of the Hong Kong-based regional human rights body, said.

“We share their appreciation of the Japanese government’s concern about the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines and look forward to more leadership from Japan to promote and protect rights there and throughout Asia,” Fernando said.

The fourteen groups were Amnesty International Japan, the CFFC, the Civil Society Network for the Elimination of Political Killings in the Philippines, the Commission of Civil Society and NGOs Questioning the Past 50 years of the relationship between Japan and the Philippines (unofficial translation from Japanese), FoE Japan, Human Rights Now, Jubilee Kansai network, KAFTI, National Christian Council Japan, ODA-NET, KAFIN Yokohama, People to People Aid (P2), Philippines Information Center Nagoya and WAYAWAYA.

Japan invests heavily in the Philippines and also offers the country extensive aid.

“As a leading economic and political power in the region, Japan needs to stress its concerns about human rights and social justice in neighbouring countries,” Fernando said.

“Its government should be aware that its regional presence is significant and that it could do much more towards improved human rights conditions among its neighbours,” he said.

“Japan is rightly seeking an important position in the international community, but with this comes added responsibilities,” Fernando continued.

“We are pleased that the Japanese government has actively lobbied for the new International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and note its commitment to end gross human rights violations throughout the world as a member of the UN Human Rights Council,” he added.

“However, it could do much more to promote human rights and establish the rule of law among its neighbours than it is at present,” Fernando stressed.

“With strong diplomatic and economic ties to most countries in the region, it could contribute much more to implementing human rights standards and building societies based on the rule of law, and contribute its accumulated resources for the development of human rights protection mechanisms in the Philippines and other Asian countries,” he concluded.


About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-003-2007
Countries : Philippines,