Our Message

Founding Secretary-General’s Message
Kazuko Ito

Vice President of Human Rights Now

I would like to start out by expressing my sincere appreciation for the support and good wishes that we have received for the newly-formed Human Rights Now.

People arrested for standing up for human rights; lawyers and civil activists murdered; children from poverty-stricken farming communities sold into the sex trade in cities; women burned alive for romances before marriage; innocent bystanders used as target practice during armed conflicts. These and other human rights abuses continue right next door to us?in countries all over Asia.

Something that really impresses me is the energy and strength of our Asian friends. Even though they are living in the middle of hardship and difficulty, they are determined to work hard to build a society without conflict where human rights are protected. In service of this, they are ardently creating networks and slowly but surely moving forward.

Human Rights Now is an organization that wants to work with people like this; in particular, NGOs working in Asia, and like-minded lawyers. Hand in hand, we aim to work together to improve the human rights situation in Asia, moving towards an independent, peaceful region, free from oppression, which will then be able to contribute towards creating a better world.

Human Rights Now has only just been established and initially our activities will be based somewhat on trial and error. However, in anticipation of the next five years, and ten years after that, we will work hard to become a human rights organization that fulfils a valuable role in the human rights situation in the Asian region. We look forward to your cooperation in our endeavors and thank you for your support.

Founding President’s Message
Kohki Abe
Dean and Professor of Law,
Kanagawa University School of Law

In Japan, as with the rest of the world, the struggle to realize human rights goals has accumulated a long history. From the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s, the struggle took on an international dimension.

NGOs making effective use of the mechanisms of Human Rights Conventions entered into Japan, adding new colour to the international human rights activities in this country. Building on this proud heritage of human rights activities, Human Rights Now (HRN) was established in July 2006.

The staff of HRN are tasked with the role of using Japan as a base from which to tackle the multifaceted human rights issues in Asia. While gradually expanding and improving the organization’s competencies, Human Rights Now needs to devote a lot of attention and energy to each area of Asia, focusing on common people struggling to live in peace every day, and working with human rights activists to ensure that injustices are eradicated and much-needed human rights are realized in the region.

The source of HRN’s energy comes not only from intellectual abilities, but also from an attitude of solidarity and empathy. HRN will take the lead, with a dynamic and energetic spirit in legal activities in the human rights field. Using our knowledge of the law, humanitarian law, criminal law, and above all international human rights law and by focusing attention squarely on people while reflecting critically on our own histories, we will work to gain the trust and respect of our neighbors in Asia.

Human rights is not something that can be forced or imposed on people. It is important that we do not forget this self evident and sensitive truth. HRN has just started on its journey, but the potential for success is unlimited and it is from this vantage point that I would like to thank you for your advice and support in the work that is ahead.