Hipocrisy or Charity? Human Rights Panel of the U.N. General Assembly on International Child Abduction Castigates North Korea; Silent on Japan


Japan continues to treat human rights like hand-me-downs, passing what it wishes to discard to the beleaguered, hungry and abused abroad, making the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea into the Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army of East Asian Human Rights.

The banner of a recent article in Mainichi Japan:

U.N. calls for immediate repatriation of N. Korean abductees

In late November 2011,  the human rights panel of the U.N. General Assembly  adopted a resolution on behalf of the Japanese,  calling on North Korea to “promptly resolve abduction issues by immediately returning abduction victims to their home countries.”

The General Assembly has adopted  such  resolutions for seven consecutive years. Co-sponsored primarily by members of the European Union and Japan, the resolution also urges Pyongyang to “immediately halt human rights violations such as torture and cruel punishment.”

“The abduction issue remains outstanding,” Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Tsuneo Nishida said  before the vote.

The extraordinary hypocrisy of the Japanese government towards its own systematic and excessive violations of  human rights and rampant  international and parental child abductions thus continues to gain in international standing. Collusion from the U.N. in Japanese criminality is particularly painful; the kind of support for Japanese abduction that sickens the stomach. Japan is seeking a seat on the U.N. Security Council. It is tempting to guess that the Japanese and their partners in the U.S. Department of State and the foreign ministries of Europe have decided to prove right the assertion of Jacques Ranciere in his essay, “Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man?” where, to paraphrase him,  he wrote that the more unverifiable and unlikely a people is to be empowered with a right, the more readily does, in this case, the international community “grant” it to them.

“When [rights appear to be] of no use, you do the same as charitable persons do with their old clothes. You give them to the poor. Those rights that appear to be useless in their place are sent abroad, along with medicine and clothes, to people deprived of medicine, clothes, and rights. It is in this way, as the result of this process, that the Rights of Man become the rights of those who have no rights, the rights of bare human beings subjected to inhuman repression and inhuman conditions of existence.”

This is particularly acute in the case of children and prisoners, to say nothing of starving populations like North Korea’s. So as Japan continues to torture the jailed into confessions to achieve its famed 99% rate of criminal conviction, and continues unabated to abduct children from abroad and through a corrupt, defiant judiciary  and police power to prevent (at least)  2,200,000 children from fulfilling the fundamental need of relationship with their parent, Japan urges the world community to join it in gifting the North Korean prisoners and allegedly remaining abducted children (from mostly resolved cases now over 30 years old ) with the human rights the Japanese egregiously deny and violate everywhere inside their own country.  It is time for the international community that the Japanese have charmed to see through the resistance inherent in this seduction, face facts, and name and shame them.

***

Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Tsuneo Nishida had much to say before the voting took place in the U.N., including this statement:

“In the event that systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights, including abductions, take place in a country and there are no signs of remedial action being taken, we think it is important not only for the Human Rights Council to send a message expressing its concern but also for the whole international community to do so through the General Assembly, inasmuch as the assembly represents 193 member states.”

How apropos! We can’t help but applaud this principle. Having completely denied 4000 abducted American children and several hundred thousand abducted children of varying nationalities  in Japan a say in this matter,  a total of 112 countries backed the Japanese resolution against North Korea, while 16 opposed it and 55 abstained. Some countries issued  statements suggesting that they abstained or voted against the resolution because they believe it should not be handled in the General Assembly, but by the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  But none objected that the Japanese are the worst per capita violators of children’s parental rights on the planet, with a record of child abduction that staggers the imagination.

The Kyodo News story, as published in Mainichi Japan, continued:

Nishida also pointed out that as the number of supporters has increased in a “pretty dramatic way” and the number of objectors has decreased, the adoption signals a “clear demonstration of the international community’s concerns over the situation, in particular, the abduction issues, especially in Japan’s case.”

A North Korean envoy said his country “totally rejects” the resolution and called it a “product of (a) political plot and pressure” that was not representative of the international community.

The resolution expressed the assembly’s “very serious concern” about North Korea’s abductions and called on Pyongyang to “urgently” resolve the issue, “including through existing channels, in a transparent manner, including by ensuring the immediate return of abductees.”

Not wishing ordinarily to grant credibility to the North Korean state, whose government appears to resemble nothing more than the institutional tribunals of the Latin Church come now to be known to us as  The Inquisition, it is hard not to find something of the truth in the North Korean envoy’s words.  Facts do not know national loyalties, and can be stubborn in their resistance to ideological manipulation. It seems that in the circumstances of International Parental Abduction of children, the Koreans have the advantage in the contest of fact, while the Japanese have taken the reins of ideology. The Japanese mask their crimes by calling them police security and safety measures, and “custody disputes.” And the U.N. in its zeal to show how strong is its moral compass in pursuit of the renegade regime in North Korea, has agreed to reinforce the Japanese fable.

On December 5th, 2011 Kyodo reported in the Japan Times that Japan and North Korea had been engaged in discussing and preparing to implement the revival of a 2008 joint investigation to satisfy the Japanese desire to see all the evidence regarding the North’s abductions of Japanese in the spring of 2010. The North Koreans offered full cooperation. However, seeing that the Japanese were flogging the issue for political ends as the revolving door in the Japanese prime minister’s office continued its revolution from Hatoyama to Naoto Kan, the talks disintegrated. It seems the issue is just too useful for Japan in its quest for a U.N. Security Council seat and in its jockeying for regional power. And to this endeavor, the Japanese are dedicated to making our children void.

***

As a consequence, the political space, which was shaped in the very gap between the abstract literalness of the rights and the polemic about their verification, turns out to diminish more and more every day. Ultimately, those rights appear actually empty. They seem to be of no use. And when they are of no use, you do the same as charitable persons do with their old clothes. You give them to the poor. Those rights that appear to be useless in their place are sent abroad, along with medicine and clothes, to people deprived of medicine, clothes, and rights. It is in this way, as the result of this process, that the Rights of Man become the rights of those who have no rights, the rights of bare human beings subjected to inhuman repression and inhuman conditions of existence. They become humanitarian rights, the rights of those who cannot enact them, the victims of the absolute denial of right. For all this, they are not void. Political names and political places never become merely void. The void is filled by somebody or something else. The Rights of Man do not become void by becoming the rights of those who cannot actualize them. If they are not truly “their” rights, they can become the rights of others.

- “Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”
Jacques Rancière

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About Brian Prager

I am the father of a beloved son who has been retained in Japan by his Japanese mother against my will. My boy has been kept out of contact with me since June, 2010. I am struggling to save him and get justice for us.
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2 Responses to Hipocrisy or Charity? Human Rights Panel of the U.N. General Assembly on International Child Abduction Castigates North Korea; Silent on Japan

  1. Tom Yohannan says:

    The double standard has become a hallmark of UN resolutions and actions in the past twenty years, coinciding with the unipolar world that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. We see it here, vis a vis North Korea and Japan, just as we saw it all too often in the attitude shown toward the various successors to Yugoslavia (some are good guys and some are bad) and, more recently, the various Arab states caught up in internal turmoil (some are heartily condemned and others slapped on the back).

  2. Brian Prager says:

    And it goes (nearly) without saying that such resolutions are selectively applied. The North Korean people have suffered starvation and misery, yet the noble Japanese / U.N. resolution draws our attention not to the massive suffering of the North Korean people, but to the handful of questions remaining regarding the Japanese abductions that took place in the 1970’s. This would be less objectionable of course if it weren’t an obvious displacement of the child abduction crisis that puts its grip on millions of children in Japan who have lost their parents to the Japanese state. The North Korean cases are fetishized by the Japanese, a perverse attachment which enables the Japanese to avoid knowing what has been done to them in their own families, and what they then inflict on their (and our) children. It appears to keep the anxiety of knowing away.

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