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Buraku discrimination in Japan (HRC31, 2016, OS)

Date : 2016.03.15

IMADR delivered its oral statement on “Buraku discrimination in Japan” at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council. Whole text can be read below or downloaded here

Report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues on Minorities and discrimination based on caste and analogous systems of inherited status” default_external link

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IMADR Oral Statement: 31st session of the Human Rights Council

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues

15 March 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s thematic report on “Minorities and discrimination based on caste and analogous systems of inherited status”. We echo the Madam Rapporteur’s emphasis on the existence of discrimination based on caste and similar systems in different parts of the world. With this regard, we appreciate the inclusion of Buraku discrimination in Japan in her report. As the Special Rapporteur observed, the effect of discrimination against Buraku people continue to be found in different areas of life.

We are deeply concerned that the detailed Buraku lists are recently uploaded to the internet. Taking account of the rapid increase of racism on the internet, these lists seriously disturb Buraku people as it would help identify their Buraku origin, which in turn would result in discrimination. Discriminatory messages against Buraku on the internet has been rampant, however, there is no effective protection measure or remedy against such racist propaganda.

Buraku discrimination is still apparent at the time of marriage. Personal background check is occasionally conducted when a Buraku person wishes to marry a non-Buraku person, which tends to result in separation of couple or break-off of relations with relatives. In worst cases, it has led to suicides of Buraku persons. One research found over 70% of Buraku women married non-Buraku men have felt being discriminated at the time of marriage.[1] This indicates the need to change the mind and attitude of people in general that allows them to discriminate Buraku people.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) very recently expressed concern on multiple discrimination faced by Buraku women in education, employment, health and participation in public and political life.[2]

Against this backdrop, we urge the Government of Japan to implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations such as the adoption of specific non-discrimination law, establishment of an independent complaint-resolution body, promotion of human rights education and public awareness. We also request the Government to allow the Special Rapporteur to conduct her official visit in a timely manner. Finally, we call upon this Council to welcome the thematic report and endorse the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent.

Thank you Mr. President.

[1] “Situations and Challenges of Minority Women in Japan” (2016), page 12, http://imadr.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CEDAW_63rd-session_submission-Situations-and-Challenges-of-Minority-Women-in-Japan_January2016.pdf

[2] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2016), “Concluding observations on the combined seventh and eighth periodic reports of Japan”, CEDAW/C/JPN/CO/7-8

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