Our Work

 

Human Rights Now combines aspects of investigations, advocacy, campaigns, education and technical cooperation with other organizations. HRN prioritizes the most serious human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings and military’s attacks against civilians. HRN also prioritizes human rights violations against those who are more vulnerable, such as women and children.

FACT FINDING:

HRN conducts fact finding missions in places where people suffer from serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Specifically HRN conducts field investigations, publicizes the reports and calls for international attention. Past investigations includes the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines (2007), human rights violation in the course of the crackdown against peaceful demonstration in Myanmar (Burma, 2008), investigating the situation in the Occupied Palestine Territory (2009), hazardous child labour in North East India (2010) and human rights situation of affected people after The Great Earthquake in Japan (2011, 2012).

ADVOCACY:

HRN has urged the UN and the international community to take appropriate measures to stop ongoing serious human rights violations and to bring justice to those responsible for such serious violations. HRN also conducts awareness raising campaign to mobilize public attention to solve the serious human rights situation in the world. HRN’s past campaign and advocacy areas include the situation in Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Cambodia, Occupied Palestine Territory, as well as situation in the Guantanamo detention facility operated by the United States. HRN advocates to UN bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly to pass effective resolutions on ongoing human rights violations. HRN also advocates stakeholders who are relevant to the human rights situations. Currently HRN is working extensively on advocacy to protect people’s right to life and health from radioactive hazards following the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan.

EMPOWERMENT:

HRN believes that grass roots effort by civil society can make a real difference. Thus, HRN supports grass roots efforts of civil societies for human rights on the ground. Building networks with local NGOs, HRN contributes to the capacity building and empowerment of human rights defenders. Since 2008, HRN has been involved with the human rights education for Myanmar’s youth around Thai Myanmar border with the local civil society groups.

TECHNICAL COOPERATION:

As an NGO comprised of legal professionals, HRN is engaged in technical cooperation to promote human rights based on its expertise and knowledge of various Asian countries. For example, HRN made significant contributions in Cambodia by making a concrete policy proposal for introduction of victims’ participation system in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. HRN has also made policy proposals regarding the legal reform related to the violence against women in several countries in Asia based on international standard.

 
 
 
REPORTS
CHILDREN'S RIGHTS REPORTS

END CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Not childhood!

According to the investigative report on child pornography in Japan conducted by Human Rights Now, suspected child pornography materials continue to be readily available in retail stores and on the Internet despite laws against child pornography.

 

The investigation includes a survey of retail and online stores in Japan identifying suspected child pornography products, as well as analysis of relevant laws and interviews with police and review associations to help identify why suspected child pornography products continue to be available in the marketplace.

 

The report concludes with recommendations to the government of Japan and pornography industry actors and stakeholders to end the proliferation of child pornography.

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GIRLS' & WOMEN'S RIGHTS REPORTS
NONCONSENSUAL PORNOGRAPHY

In Japan, it has been frequently reported that many young women who were scouted as TV personalities or models were tricked or pressured into performing in adult pornographic videos (AV). In many cases, these young women signed agency contracts without knowing what would happen. The victims realized that they would be in a pornographic video only after being sent to a shooting location, and were told that they would have to pay a penalty if they refused the work.

 

Forced appearances in AV cause serious damage to victims, including physical and psychological harms. Not only are the victims forced to have “sexual intercourse” in the name of contract, but there is not currently any effective legal system other than the cancellation right for minors. Therefore, once the video is released, it continues to spread indefinitely on the internet and causes suffering to women for a significant amount of time. As a result, the victims often suffer from PTSD, or in some cases, commit suicide.

In 2016, Human Rights Now (HRN) released an investigative report on the damage of forced appearances in adult pornographic videos, which resulted in a strong public reaction.

END FORCED APPEARANCES IN ADULT PORNOGRAPHIC FILMS

It has been frequently reported that many young women in Japan who were scouted as TV personalities or models, were deceived, and tricked into performing in pornographic films.

Human Rights Now conducted an investigation by interviewing the victims and their supporters to determine the facts. It revealed that in many cases, these young women who signed to agencies without knowing what would happen and were subsequently threatened. Threats made included things such as “You can’t reject the job, you have signed a contract,” “if you refuse to work, you are responsible to pay for the damages,” or “your parents will find out about your work”. The women felt they had no other choice but to participate in the filming of pornographic movies.

Human Rights Now has been requesting that relevant parties in Japan consider measures to prevent further damages. Since the press conference was held in Tokyo following the release of the investigative report, the issue of forced appearances in pornographic films in Japan has been widely covered by media around the world. Moreover, many victims have courageously come forward to testify or become advocates to demand justice and legal reforms to end sexual violence against girls and women. Despite backlash from the pornographic industry, Human Rights Now has been continuously promoting further awareness on the issue in collaboration with many civil society actors. Human Rights Now-NY has also joined this fight to raise more awareness on the issue.

Image by Dingzeyu Li

"I entered into an agreement with the production as a model only to discover that I had to appear in pornographic videos."

DISCRIMINATION IN THE PUNISHMENT OF WOMEN

On 25 July 2018, Human Rights Now released a report on the discriminatory punishment of women.

The report examines practices of discriminatory punishment of women in eight states varied by region and culture, consisting of Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Each chapter introduces the legal and social context in the state and its international duties, surveys discriminatory practices in the punishment of women which fall short of international standards, and concludes with recommendations.

The report considers multiple forms of punishment, including official punishment as a matter of law, discriminatory practices of officials, and societal punishment which is either sanctioned or tolerated by the state or where the state has been insufficient in ending the practices. Examined practices include substantive discrimination, including moral crimes such as adultery, seclusion, and dress requirements, honor killings, sorcery-related crimes, and other crimes which disproportionately target women, and procedural discrimination, including by moral police, informal judicial bodies, and discriminatory practices by police and judges.

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This report examines practices of discriminatory punishment of women in eight states varied by region and culture, consisting of Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

ARMED CONFLICT REPORTS

Summarized Report on the First Meeting of States Parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

21 to 23 June 2022 in Vienna, Austria
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Introduction

Adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member states at the United Nations on 7 July 2017 and entered into force on 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a legally binding instrument that comprehensively prohibits participation in any nuclear weapon activities, including the development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, or threat to use nuclear weapons [1]. The TPNW has since been ratified by 65 countries, including four ratifications within the past week by Cape Verde, Grenada, Timor-Leste, and Guatemala, officially establishing Central America as the first entire contiguous region to deposit instruments of ratification. As echoed by Mr. Alvin Botes of South Africa, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the ultimate goal of the TPNW and the States Parties signatory to it is “a world free of nuclear weapons” [2].

 

Considering Article 8(2) of the TPNW which reads, “The first meeting of States Parties shall be convened by the Secretary General of the United Nations within one year of the entry into force of this Treaty” [3], and the feasibility of holding an international meeting in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it was decided that the First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) would be held from 21 to 23 June 2022 at the Austria Center Vienna. The 1MSP, which ICAN UN Liaison Seth Shelden suggested addresses the procedural side of prohibiting nuclear weapons, directly followed the Fourth Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) in Vienna, which Shelden suggested addresses the substantive side of the actual arguments that led States to prohibit nuclear weapons [4]. It was the first three HINW conferences that ultimately led to the negotiation and adoption of the TPNW in 2017.

As declared by President of the 1MSP on the TPNW Alexander Kmentt, the purpose of the 1MSP was to “strengthen our young Treaty, and to establish its implementation in the best and strongest way possible” [5]. The three-day agenda of the 1MSP therefore focused on adopting concrete rules and procedures, including establishing deadlines and transforming working papers on topics such as universality, victim assistance, and institutionalizing scientific advice into an Action Plan that guides countries on how to actually implement solutions to these substantive nuclear weapons issues.

 In total, 49 States Parties were in attendance to the 1MSP and 34 States attended the 1MSP as observers, in addition to representatives from relevant civil society organizations and 85 non-governmental organizations that observed without the right to vote (see the Final Report for a breakdown of all delegations involved [6]). The three-day 1MSP successfully addressed all items on the Agenda and culminated in the adoption of a Final Report [7], a Declaration [8], and an Action Plan [9]. The Final Report is largely procedural; the Declaration is a condemnation against any use or threat to use nuclear weapons, reiterating the moral and ethical imperatives which inspired the TPNW and which guide its implementation; and the Action Plan is a set of 50 specific actions for actually implementing the TPNW and realizing the commitments made in the Declaration. 

 

 

References:

  1. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations General Assembly, 7 July 2017, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N17/209/73/PDF/N1720973.pdf?OpenElement 

  2. 1st Plenary Meeting of the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, UN Web TV, 21 June 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1s/k1sbslstum 

  3. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations General Assembly, 7 July 2017, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N17/209/73/PDF/N1720973.pdf?OpenElement 

  4. Seth Shelden in MSP TV via ICAN, 21 June 2022 morning edition, https://vienna.icanw.org/msptv-by-ican 

  5. 1st Plenary Meeting of the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, UN Web TV, 21 June 2022, https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1s/k1sbslstum

  6. “Draft report of the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” 22 June 2022, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/1msp/documents/draft-report.pdf 

  7. Ibid.

  8. “Draft Vienna Declaration of the 1st Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” 23 June 2022, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/nuclear-weapon-ban/1msp/documents/draft-declaration.pdf 

  9. “Draft Vienna Action Plan,” 22 June 2022, https://documents.unoda.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/TPNW.MSP_.2022.CRP_.7-Draft-Action-Plan-new.pdf