Human Rights Watch, in a letter today, asked Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to focus on human rights issues and concerns at the upcoming summit between Japan and the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) happening in Tokyo from December 13-15. In a previous statement of the group, they had called on Abe to make use of his vision of “diplomacy based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law” by changing the country’s traditional “quiet” diplomacy into a more active, open and constructive condemnation of these atrocities.
The group also urged Abe to raise certain issues in the summit including the electoral anomalies that happened in Cambodia and to call for an independent investigation on the incident by international authorities. They also noted the growing intolerance, discrimination and violence against religious minorities in Indonesia alongside rising cases of women’s rights violations. The group in its letter to Abe, also included Burma’s abuses against the Rohingya Muslim and Kachin ethnic population alongside the creation of an office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. They also mentioned the issue of political prisoners in Vietnam, extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the Aquino government and human rights abuses for people with political affiliation in Thailand.
Kanae Doi, Japan Director for Human Rights Watch said, “Prime Minister Abe should not miss this important opportunity to demonstrate what he meant by diplomacy based on the fundamental values of human rights and democracy.” Reiterating that the weight of the different human rights problems in the Southeast Asian region is far too heavy for the country’s “quiet diplomacy.”