May 27, 2019 For immediate release
Robert Kajiwara and Catherine Jane Fisher will be speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council from June 24-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Robert Kajiwara, President of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition, will be requesting UN intervention in the current situation in Okinawa surrounding the military bases at Henoko and Futenma, where thousands have called for their immediate closure.
“Okinawa is a perfect example of a peaceful movement for change,” said Kajiwara, a fourth-generation Okinawan Hawaiian. “We have always used peaceful methods to assert our rights. If the UN is unwilling or unable to intervene in a non-violent situation such as this, they are by default encouraging violence, and if they encourage violence, then the very purpose of the UN is rendered obsolete.”
On December 8, 2018 Kajiwara started a petition calling for a stop to the construction of the base at Henoko. The petition quickly garnered over 100,000 signatures in its first ten days, and currently has over 211,000 signatures. Both the U.S. and Japan governments, however, have ignored the petition, as well as the many other calls for the construction to stop, including a referendum held in Okinawa in February 2019 in which 72% of the population voted against the base and another 8% voted undecided.
Catherine Jane Fisher, the Peace For Okinawa Coalition’s Special Advisor on the Rights of Men, Women, and Children, will join Kajiwara in speaking at the UN. Fisher, who was born in Australia and moved to Japan with her family during the 1980s, was the woman who first broke the silence of rape in Japan in 2002.
Fisher advocates for victims of heinous crimes committed by US Military personnel on the island of Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan which have occurred for over 70 years. Fisher has also exposed the lack of action by the government of Japan to properly handle cases of sexual violence and ensure the support and well-being of victims.
Kajiwara and Fisher previously spoke together on February 20 at the National Diet of Japan in Tokyo.
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition is a U.S.-based multi-national, multi-ethnic non-profit think tank and cultural organization aimed at promoting peace, diplomacy, justice, and human rights through advancing Okinawan history, culture, language, and issues.