Kyodo news service reported yesterday (via Japan Times) that:
An international convention banning states from abducting people will spur Japanese moves to resolve the North Korean abduction issue and send a “strong message” to Pyongyang, Vice Foreign Minister Masayoshi Hamada said Tuesday.
“We were able to send a strong message that it’s not only Japan that is telling North Korea” about the abductions, Hamada said after a ceremony in which 57 countries, including Japan, signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The treaty is the first of its kind to focus on state-sponsored abductions. It will be put into force once 20 nations ratify it.
The pact does not apply to cases that took place before its ratification, exempting North Korea’s abductions of Japanese in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
I understand that Japan’s primary concern with this treaty (text here) is the North Korea abduction issue, and the fact that these crimes have a special exemption to the statute of limitations is a testament to the efforts Japan has undertaken regarding this issue, but how many of the other 56 countries are really thinking about North Korea when they ratify this treaty?
The treaty has been in the works since at least 2001, and while a 2001 article from Human Rights News states that “The practice of forced disappearances plagues many parts of the world, including Algeria, Colombia, Iraq, and Sudan, as well as Chechnya in Russia,” I expect that many of today’s signatories are actually thinking of so-called “extraordinary rendition” by the United States when they sign it. Since they are most likely committing actions that would violate the treaty, The United States is naturally not one of the signatories at present, but interestingly they were also opposed to the treaty back in April of 2001, before 9.11.2001 and any US-instigated “forced disappearances” that I am aware of.
It makes sense that Japan would not want to call attention to the lack of US support for this treaty, I find it very odd that Kyodo news has written such a shallow article, leaving out any non-Japan related background on the treaty, which reads more like a government issued press release than a news story.