Declaration for Accelerating Activities for Protecting Human Rights Based on the “Declaration on Action for Human Rights 2009”
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) released the "Declaration on Action for Human Rights" in 1999 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its establishment. In this declaration, the JFBA pointed out the human rights problems which Japan and the international society were facing, and promised that the JFBA would make the best effort to solve the problems. This declaration, together with the "Judicial Reform Vision" released by the JFBA in 1998, showed the direction of systematical reforms for protecting individual dignity and human rights.
In the past ten years, the JFBA has played important roles in various areas including: i) reforms of the criminal justice system such as introduction of the court-appointed attorney system for suspects, realization of the court-appointed attendant system for partial juvenile cases, and implementation of the Act on Penal Detention Facilities and Treatment of Inmates and Detainees, ii) advancement of retrial cases such as Fukawa and Ashikaga cases, iii) advancement of various systems for consumer protection such as the establishment of the Consumer Affairs Agency, iv) realization of gender equality, v) activities for establishing various rights for the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities, vi) activities for improving the domestic human rights situation utilizing international human rights safeguards, and vii) international legal technical assistance.
However, there are still many tasks which have been declared but not yet realized. In addition, freedom and human rights are facing new dangers. After the terrorist attacks against the U.S. in 2001, surveillance has been reinforced in international society and military forces are increasingly being used. Furthermore, many measures taken to relax regulations have worsened working environments and exacerbated poverty. There is also the progress of global warming.
Therefore, in this year of the JFBA's 60th anniversary, the JFBA has made the "Declaration on Action for Human Rights 2009," which includes the tasks mentioned below, and sets up the concrete objectives to be achieved in the next ten years.
- Realization of a society where the human rights of all people are guaranteed and they live together without discrimination
- ) Establishing substantive gender equality in all fields, eliminating gender biases from judiciary, and accelerating gender equality in the JFBA
- ) Establishing the right of the elderly and persons with disabilities to "live in the community" and eliminating discriminations against persons with disabilities and others
- ) Allowing children to exercise their rights, securing children's right to growth and development, and eliminating human rights violations such as abuse and physical punishment
- ) Creating a multiethnic and multicultural society by guaranteeing the rights of persons with foreign nationality and ethnic minorities and eliminating discrimination against them
- Eliminating consumer detriment and establishing various systems based on consumers' sovereignty and viewpoints
- Establishing human rights related to life, health, medical science, and medical treatment necessary to maintain human dignity
- Overcoming new dangers to the right to live such as poverty and establishing various rights to realize decent work
- Eliminating pollutions and environmental destruction, preventing global warming, and creating a sustainable society where rights to the environment and to enjoy nature are ensured
- Guaranteeing human rights in criminal justice
- ) Realizing conforming the criminal justice system to the Constitution and the standards of human rights safeguards established by international human rights law, including introduction of electronic recording of interrogations (video recording of all processes of interrogations), elimination of so called "hostage justice" under which if a defendant denies the charge or remains silent, it is difficult to be bailed out, prompt abolition of substitute prisons (daiyo kangoku) , and establishment of the right to counsel
- ) Further improving the treatment of inmates and detainees, advancing the measures to ensure the dignity of persons who committed crimes, realizing suspension of executing death row inmates, and promoting national debates on the death penalty system
- Realizing various systems for securing individual dignity of crime victims, and eliminating organized crime involvement in civic affairs and recovering damages caused thereby
- Guaranteeing freedom of thought, creed, and expression, and constraining excessive surveillance
- Drastically reforming the personal information protection system and the information disclosure system, realizing democratic control of police and administrative organizations by citizens, and establishing rights of tax payers
- Realizing the perpetual pacifism of the Constitution together with international society and contributing to the establishment of the rule of law and human rights in the world
- Establishing international and domestic systems for guaranteeing human rights to activate provisions of guaranteeing human rights in the Constitution and human rights treaties in Japan, such as adoption of individual complaint procedures, establishment of a national human rights institution conforming to the Paris Principles, reinforcement of judicial functions, and enhancement of the civil legal aid system, and spreading and practicing legal education as a base of democratic society
The JFBA always considers this Declaration as our important tasks and, in order to achieve the objectives, commits to making every effort to protect human rights by cooperating with both its members and non-members and continuously examining progress towards the achievement of these tasks.
The JFBA declares as above.
November 6, 2009
Japan Federation of Bar Associations