Delegate Name: Griffin Ransom
Topic: Right to Peaceful Protest
Delegate: Griffin Ransom
School: Williamston High School
All around the world there are different restrictions and rights regarding citizens and their right to peacefully protest. The defining factor when considering a gathering a peaceful protest or not is whether or not violence is involved in any way. The past decade has seen a marked rise in protest movements, with 37 countries experiencing massive anti-government movements in late 2019 alone. Despite COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings, these trends have largely continued in 2020. The vast majority of these protests have been peaceful, and many have inspired important policy changes. Many of these international accords state unequivocally that national security and the rule of law take precedence over individual rights to protest. In many cases, the distinction between assembly and protest leads to governments imposing harsh and sometimes violent restrictions on what they view to be illegal or detrimental gatherings.
In Japan freedom of expression is widely guaranteed to the maximum extent, and there are no grounds for such concerns. Additionally, Japan has taken action towards violent protests by using the police force and authorities to handle such protests. The Japan Coast Guard has implemented minimum measures necessary to restrain dangerous or illegal acts in order to protect the lives of and prevent injury to the protesters and the construction staff; The police take appropriate security measures in regard to all protests in light of preventing any problematic incidents and from the perspectives of neutrality and equality, regardless of protesters’ claims. Furthermore, to ensure the democratic administration and the political neutrality of the police, a Prefectural Public Safety Commission, consisting of three or five external experts, is established in each prefecture. They supervise the Prefectural Police from the perspective of a third-party. To go along with the third-party organizations, The Japan Coast Guard has a mechanism to review its measures, and has established a careful review process.
The UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No. 37 interpreting Article 21 of the ICCPR which defines the right of peaceful assembly in broad terms and specifies that states may limit the right but only if codified in law and as necessary to protect the public and the rights and freedoms of others. Additionally, Japan will continue to use its strict protest rules to keep protesters under control, safe, and supervised.