非政府组织向经济、社会和文化权利委员会简报关于伊朗、阿塞拜疆和日本的情况(部分翻译)

经济、社会和文化权利委员会 

2013年4月29日

下午

非政府组织今日下午与经济、社会和文化权利委员会进行了会谈,并向其简报了有关伊朗、阿塞拜疆和日本落实《经济、社会及文化权利国际公约》规定的情况。三个国家的报告将于本周接受委员会的审议。

关于伊朗,非政府组织代表表示:巴哈伊少数群体仍然在工作和教育中受到歧视,变性人被迫接受通常是多此一举的手术和激素疗法,同性恋是一项罪名,妇女学习的选择受限,阿富汗人普遍遭到歧视。

关于阿塞拜疆,非政府组织代表指出,由于信息匮乏,该国母乳喂养水平较低;另外,列兹金少数群体受到歧视。

关于日本,发言主要关于:对福岛核事故受害者采取的行动不足;妇女权利和性别平等;承认外国人的权利;免费教育的重要性和退步;慰安妇女的代表问题;解决日本公司工作负荷过重的问题;性骚扰;年龄歧视;社会保障开支。

多哥和卢旺达的报告也将在此次届会期间接受委员会的审议,5月6日(周一)将进行一次类似的非政府组织简报。

下列非政府组织的代表今天下午作了发言:巴哈伊国际社会、伊朗正义组织、列兹金民族与文化自治同盟、国际婴儿食品行动网、“现在就要人权”组织、共同复兴——东日本灾害妇女网络、《经济、社会及文化权利国际公约》非政府组织报告委员会、《经济、社会及文化权利国际公约》日本性别项目、日本和睦团契组织、职业妇女网络、日本航空不公正解雇原告团、日本过劳死死者家属协会、日本辩护士(律师)联合会、日本退休者联合会、日本韩语学校母亲网络。

委员会的下一次公共会议将在4月30日(周二)上午10点进行,开始审议日本的报告(E/C.12/JPN/3)。

Iran

Baha’i International Community said members of the Baha’i minority in Iran were not able to study beyond secondary school and were unable to work in the public sector, or 25 other trades and professions.  Their shops and factories had also been closed down.  Students identified as Baha’i had been expelled from university.  Lawyers had provided testimony that no evidence was presented at court for charges against members of this community, for which they were then imprisoned. 

Justice for Iran said Iran required that transgender persons underwent often-unwanted surgery and hormone therapies to enjoy legal recognition of their preferred gender.  In addition, same-sex sexual conduct was illegal carrying the death penalty or other violent punishment.  Women were banned from enrolment in 14 areas of study, and quotas limited women in other areas, diminishing women's right to work.  Undocumented Afghan children were barred from received education or healthcare, while documented children must pay large tuition and health care costs.  The Ahwazi Arab minority were not being allowed to use their Arabic mother tongue in a number of ways.

An Expert asked whether identity cards carried the religious affiliation of a person, and also, what reaction was there from Iran when the Committee had previously raised issues?  Another asked about suggestions that areas of Iran were Afghan-free, who was responsible for propagating this message?  What was the historical reason for suppressing the Baha’i community?  Had there been an instance when a denomination not covered by the four religions in the constitution had suffered discrimination in relation to access to university, other than the Baha’i?  Did the discrimination also relate to the rights to housing, health or food?

In response, NGO representatives said that there were no national identity cards in Iran, though a letter had been submitted to the Committee which included a form to be signed and filled out by all those applying for commercial licences, asking for their religion.  A list had also been created to monitor all Baha’i with shops and businesses.  All treaty bodies had questioned Iran on the Baha’i issue, and the General Assembly also regularly issued a resolution which called on the country to meet its responsibilities. 

The NGO representatives said that Iran denied the allegations, and those recommendations about the group that had been taken on were not implemented.  As an unrecognised religion, Baha’i adherents were denied their rights and had been unable to elect their governing body.  Seven officials that had assisted in everyday rituals were now serving 20 years in prison.  As early as 2002, the Iranian Government had declared parts of the country Afghan-free and high ranking officials often made derogatory comments publicly.  Provinces had denied the entrance and residency of Afghans.  No access to healthcare was possible for undocumented Afghans.

Azerbaijan

Federal Lezghin National and Cultural Autonomy said as a result of State policies the families of the Lezghin minority had been split up.  Some had been asked to leave their homes to accelerate integration and mosques had been closed.  Demographic data had been falsified and some persons had been forced to adopt different nationalities.  Political prisoners had been taken and the group did not have access to schools or teaching in their language.  Very few resources had been offered to the ethnic minorities in a resource-rich country.

International Baby Food Action Network said only 32 per cent of children in Azerbaijan were breastfed immediately on birth, and only 12 per cent were breast-fed for the first six months.  Women were not being provided with the correct information on the benefits of breastfeeding, and more could be done to support maternity protection and improve conditions for working women.  The way that breast-milk substitutes were marketed should also be considered.

Japan

Human Rights Now said that following the accident at the Fukishima power plant there had been no transparency related to the ongoing situation, and many people still lived in highly contaminated areas.  The medical checks were slow, despite an increase of cases of thyroid cancer among children in the area.  It was necessary to provide care, medical checks, support and compensation for those affected.  Over 110,000 people were still in shelters that were below an adequate standard.  At least 1,600 people had died as evacuees, and it was suggested that this was related to a lack of easily accessible healthcare.  The most vulnerable needed to be at the centre of the decision-making process and long-term planning was required.

Rise Together - Women’s Network for East Japan Disaster welcomed the positive measures supporting people affected by the disaster, though great challenges remained for groups such as children, single mothers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.  It was requested that the Committee consider the lack of implementation of the Covenant for women in disaster-related areas, as well as issues of gender identity.

NGO Committee for Reporting on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights said they had made several proposals including the recognition of foreigners’ rights, an approach based on human rights and the acceptance of anti-discrimination legislation.  The Government should take steps to provide free education at secondary level and beyond and steer away from nationalistic interfering in what was taught at school.  Japan should also follow up on recommendations in good faith at the national level, in association with NGOs.

Association for the Bereaved Families of Karoshi in Japan said Japanese companies made too many demands on workers.  It was necessary for the State to make a basic law to prevent this over-work.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Gender Project Japan said gender discrimination was pervasive in Japan.  Women occupied around only eight per cent of parliamentary seats and high-profile positions.  Discriminatory provisions in inheritance and abortion, amongst others, exacerbated the condition of women.  Gender equality was not widely accepted, and persistent and negative gender stereotypes remained in both the workplace and families.

Japan Fellowship of Reconciliation said an advertisement supported by the Diet had said that comfort women were a licence for prostitution around the world.  A movie posted on YouTube reinforced that comfort women were well-rewarded.  Foreign children were not treated equally in related to attendance to schools and parents were not sent the appropriate information.

Working Women’s Network said there were no laws prohibiting sexual harassment and suggested that this should be legally prohibited.  Definite-term contracts, of one or two years, were being widely used and legislation was needed to regulate this and offer workers stability.  The principle of equal work for equal value was not widely seen and court decisions had seen discrimination allowed to go unpunished.

JAL Unfair Dismissal Withdrawal Plaintiffs said activities had been seen which weakened the work of labour unions.  A number of cases were offered to explain this.  As many as 940 new flight attendants had been hired, following the dismissal of a number of workers due to
age discrimination.

Japan Federation of Bar Association said educational spending was becoming a burden to Japanese households and an increasing number of people were unable to pay for health insurance, and so could not receive treatment.  The suicide rate in Japan was the eighth highest rate in the world.  These two matters together, with the upcoming lowering of the standard of living, was a vicious cycle which offered no hope for the future.

Japan Pensioners’ Union said Japanese pensioners were finding it difficult to live adequately in old age as one million people did not have pensions, and although public assistance was available it could only be given after all savings and assets were dissolved.  A large gender gap in pension benefit was also an issue, with that of a woman being only 47 per cent of that of a man.

Mothers Network of Korean Schools in Japan said efforts to remove the burden of paying for education was due to be applied to both Japanese and foreign schools.  However, the Japanese Government had removed support to schools of countries where there was no diplomatic relationship - such as with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  This was not just a problem of providing money, but also of human dignity.

An Expert asked how it was possible for any Government to show indifference to their people following the nuclear accident?  Had there been a comparative analysis of what had been done against what was being asked of Japan?  Was it the case that the problem was that a human rights approach was not being followed?  What was the response of the Government when civil society said it was not possible to decrease the level of public assistance further?

In response, NGO representatives said that there were some measures being taken by the Government, though no information had been received, and a lack of policy meant that at the point of crisis those without electricity could not access available information.   Following the accident, the appointed government representative said the safe level of radiation was 100 times what it had been before, and information on monitoring had not been shared, meaning many people delayed their evacuation. 

On the health impacts, there was now a high rate of thyroid cancer in the contamination zone, and thyroid problems more generally.  Based on a lack of information about safety, nuclear energy should not be promoted and plants should not be restarted.

The Government was trying to cut the total sum of social security and social assistance as some parts of society received too much and lived too comfortably.  The number of people receiving social assistance was increasing year on year. 

A person attending the meeting said that historically the Japanese Government did not care about the people and was doing the bare minimum in reconstruction.  There was no social support and that which there was, was delivered by volunteer groups.

An Expert asked whether the Korean schools that did not receive funding were only for students coming from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or were there also some from the Republic of Korea?  Another wondered about a large cut in budget for social services provisions, had this been a reduction seen since 2010, or was it ongoing?

In response, NGO representatives said the children attending the schools without funding were a mix of those with both the northern part of the Korean peninsula, as well as the south, some of whom had Japanese nationality.  Expenditure was increasing as a result of Japan’s ageing demographic, and cuts were being made in every possible way to bring down the amount spent on the resulting social services provisions.

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For use of the information media; not an official record