Human rights should be at the centre of Japan's international development cooperation efforts: UN expertListen /
Japan should adopt a human rights-based approach to its international development cooperation.
The call comes from UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina.
He said "The Government should make a more explicit commitment to incorporating human rights principles into the design, implementation and monitoring of its international development cooperation policies".
And Mr. Lumina recommends that "the Government should adopt a policy statement on human rights and development cooperation, as other leading providers of official development assistance, such as Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA have done".
The expert noted that Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget has been declining in recent years.
According to Mr. Lumina, "Compared to 1997, the ODA budget for 2013 has been cut by 52.3 per cent. In 2012, only 0.17 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) was devoted to development cooperation. This was significantly below the United Nations ODA target of 0.7 per cent of GNI…".
Acknowledging the economic, fiscal and humanitarian challenges the country has faced in recent years, he urged the Government to adopt a road map for reaching the UN target.
The final findings and recommendations will be presented in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.