In order for an individual to file a complaint with the United Nations five human rights treaty bodies, their nation must have ratified the optional protocols to the treaties which they have signed and ratified. Left behind parents of children abducted to Japan (and also left behind Japanese parents whose own family law system has excluded them from their own child’s lives) would have an opportunity, as an individual, to file complaints with the UN regarding their human rights (and those of their children), if Japan would ratify the first optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It is clear that Japan has ratified several UN treaties (including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, March 22, 1994) and not been compliant with them. Specifically, the UNCRC Article 9, section 3 states: “States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests”. To date Japan has not honored its’ obligation to protect the human rights of children or parents. Also, Japan has not ratified ANY optional protocols to the UN treaties it has signed. If Japan were to do so, left behind parents (and all Japanese citizens) would then have the opportunity to file a complaint with the UN as an individual.
The benefit to left behind parents, specifically, would then be that another actionable avenue would open up to them. There are very few things that LBP’s can currently do when their children are abducted to Japan and/or within Japan. Any new avenue of human rights protection would most certainly be a benefit to those with the capability to vigorously defend the human rights of their children.
For those LBP’s who reside outside of Japan, if the country that they reside in has signed the optional protocols, they do have a right to file a complaint with the UN as an individual.
The Japanese Civil Liberties Association (JCLU) is encouraging the Government of Japan to sign the optional protocols to the treaties it has ratified.
We at Left Behind Parents Japan NPO are lobbying the Government of Japan to do so also.
More information can be found on the links below.
Five of the human rights treaty bodies (CCPR, CERD, CAT, CEDAW and CRPD) may, under particular circumstances, consider individual complaints or communications from individuals:
The Human Rights Committee may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
The CEDAW may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women;
The CAT may consider individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 22 of the Convention Against Torture;
The CERD may consider individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and
The CRPD may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Convention on Migrant Workers also contains provision for allowing individual communications to be considered by the CMW; these provisions will become operative when 10 states parties have made the necessary declaration under article 77.
Who can complain?
Any individual who claims that her or his rights have under the covenant or convention have been violated by a State party to that treaty may bring a communication before the relevant committee, provided that the State has recognized the competence of the committee to receive such complaints. Complaints may also be brought by third parties on behalf of individuals provided they have given their written consent or where they are incapable of giving such consent.
For more information on how to complain under the treaty bodies’ communications procedures, go to: