Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Betty Williams along with a diverse range of international celebrities have added their support for Greenpeace anti-whaling activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki: calling on the Japanese government to ensure that the upcoming trial of the ‘Tokyo Two’ is both fair and conducted in accordance with international human rights standards.

The new Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo has travelled to Japan to support the Greenpeace activists as they prepare for the beginning of their trial on Monday 15 February. Today he released an open letter to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, urging him to uphold Japan’s commitment to international human rights.

“Today our voices have united with those of more than a quarter of a million people around the world, all of which are calling for justice for Greenpeace activists Junichi and Toru,” said Dr Naidoo. “It is time the Japanese government listened to these voices. The eyes of the world are on Japan and this trial.”

On Monday Greenpeace released an opinion from the HRC Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which found that Japan has contravened both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its treatment of the Tokyo Two.

The Working Group’s opinion is the first of its kind for Japan, and found that the authorities at the time of Sato and Suzuki’s arrest contravened articles 18,19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Working Group stated that the two have been denied the right to challenge their detention before an independent and impartial tribunal in fair proceedings, and has requested that the trial be conducted fairly.

“This is the first time anyone has been found to be arbitrarily detained in Japan, so even before it has officially begun this case has become a landmark,” said Dr Naidoo. “Prime Minister Hatoyama’s government has shown itself to be a leader when it comes to climate change, now it is time for it to show its commitment to human rights and ensure this case is remembered as a progressive turning point for justice in Japan.”

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

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