The Words of the Fefferman Family

Human Rights Expert Says Japan in 'Collusion' With Criminals

Dan Fefferman
August 30, 2010

TOKYO, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the recent European Leadership Conference and Fact Finding Tour to Japan, international human rights expert Aaron Rhodes discussed human rights abuses taking place in Japan.

Mr. Rhodes, the former Executive Director for the International Helsinki Federation of Human Rights, said the forced conversions and abductions of members of the Unification Church in Japan are in direct violation of United Nations human rights agreements.

"This is a nightmare," Mr. Rhodes said of the Japanese government, "because public authorities are in collusion with criminals." Mr. Rhodes described the forced deprogramming of Unification Church members in Japan a violation of the most basic human rights, saying victims are coerced by physical force to change and present a confession. Members of the audience were encouraged to contact the Asian Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) to pressure the Japanese government and embarrass them for their inactivity on abductions and forced conversions.

In 2009, the University of Chicago awarded Mr. Rhodes the prestigious Public Service Award. He is regarded as one of the world's leading human rights activists and is respected for his work on challenges in the Balkans, in Chechnya, and in Central Asia. Mr. Rhodes rebuked Japan's judicial system for not acting independently but with prejudice against religious minorities -- a grave indictment against a liberal democracy with an otherwise good record on human rights.

About the International Coalition for Religious Freedom

The International Coalition for Religious Freedom is a non-profit, non-sectarian, educational organization dedicated to defending the religious freedom of all, regardless of creed, gender or ethnic origin.

SOURCE International Coalition for Religious Freedom

New Website Exposes Japan's Human Rights Violations Calls for U.S. Congressional Hearings

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 -- A new website launched today at exposes human rights violations in Japan tied to abductions and forced conversions of religious minorities in Japan. Forced conversions and abductions in Japan are a hidden human rights crime that denies people the fundamental right to worship freely. The site, will pursue justice on behalf of victims and hold the government of Japan accountable for their failure to prosecute these crimes against humanity.

The new website hosts news articles and videos of kidnap victims, as well as a petition, calling on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to hold Congressional hearings into Japan's violation of international human rights treaties. The European Leadership Conference in a fact finding tour to Japan recently held a summit featuring world renowned human rights activists who attest to the abuses taking place in Japan.

According to human rights activist Aaron Rhodes: "This is a nightmare because public authorities [in Japan] are in collusion with criminals." After many interviews with victims of religious abductions and forced conversions in Japan, Peter Zoehrer, a journalist in Europe, concluded:

Police in Japan often refuse to help victims of abduction and forced conversion

In some cases, police in Japan cooperate with the perpetrators

In several decades, not a single case has been prosecuted in Japan

Japanese civil courts treat the problem as a "family matter"

The website petition, from the International Coalition for Religious Freedom, calls on Congress to hold hearings before the end of the year about religious and human rights abuses taking place in Japan -- one of America's great trading partners. These hearings should be held by the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, co-chaired by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Source: International Coalition for Religious Freedom
Contact: Dan Fefferman, International Coalition for Religious Freedom 

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