The Human Rights Council, which was established in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution in March, opened its first session on 19 June 2006. The Council will be the principal human rights body within the UN system, promoting the protection of human rights, taking up serious human rights violations and dealing with them through recommendations and other measures.
The 47 member states of the Council, including Japan, were elected on 9 May. The candidates for the election had made public their "pledges", indicating national and international efforts that they were going to make for the protection of human rights. In its pledges[PDF 169KB], Japan had explained its efforts that it had made for the protection and promotion of human rights at the national and international levels and had expressed the intention to promote genuine dialogue and cooperation based on mutual understanding and respect, to address situations of gross human rights violations and to promote the implementation of periodic review of each state's human rights situations. It had also committed itself to the promotion of the early finalization and adoption of the draft Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance as well as the draft Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, together with the expression of support to the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On 19 June, the Council elected Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico to the President of the first session. The session was organized under the high-level segment for the first four days, in which ministers and other high-ranking officials took the floor. Mr. Yamanaka, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, took up the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by the agents of the North Korea and expressed active support for the early adoption of the draft Convention on Enforced Disappearance. Concerning technical cooperation, he stated that Japan had given priority to countries that make active efforts to pursue peace, democratization and the protection of human rights, putting emphasis on assistance for capacity-building in judicial and legal systems as well as the development of a cooperative network in Asia to combat human trafficking.
· Press release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (19 June 2006, English)
· Election of the member states of the Human Rights Council (English)
· Pledges of Japan [PDF 169KB]
· Statement by Mr. Yamanaka, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the High-Level Segment Meeting of the Human Rights Council
· Member States of the Human Rights Council Elected, HURIGHTS OSAKA News in Brief (May 2006, Japanese)
· UN General Assembly Adopts a Resolution on the Establishment of the Human Rights Council, HURIGHTS OSAKA News in Brief (March 2006, Japanese)