Case 40-2018: Japan & Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Official Statement on Violation of the Right to Sustainable Development and to Healthy Environment
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights, on June 22, 2018, decides to reaffirm once again that Buddhist Spirituality does not endorse the illegal and immoral behavior of the government of Japan, which continues to violate International Law in the name of science by means of acts of Ecocide against hundreds of whales in the Southern Ocean, despite the fact that many of them were young and pregnant.
As a result, the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights reaffirms that these ecocidal actions constitute a violation of the human right to sustainable development, since this kind of commercial enterprise has a huge impact on natural resources, not allowing the Biosphere to absorb such an impact. Actually, Japan’s actions point to an unbridled economic growth that can produce an extinction of fundamental species, so that its actions are contrary to the increasing of the quality of life and social welfare, wasting or depleting renewable natural resources in which human life is sustained, so that it is a clear deterioration or injury of the environment and a violation of the right of future generations to use ecosystems for the satisfaction of their basic needs.
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights seeks that the States take advantage of natural resources but ensuring sustainable development, by preserving or replacing resources, preventing and controlling environmental deterioration, which is why the legal ethical sanction has been imposed on the government of Japan so that it ceases its ecocidal activities and repairs the damage caused to nature. The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights does not intend that Japan does not use its fishing resources, but it recalls two fundamental issues: 1) Whales are not fish, but are highly evolved beings with an intrinsic dignity as important as human dignity; 2) Natural resources should not be depredated but should be used coherently, so that nature should always be given the opportunity to regenerate itself, making economic progress compatible with the well-being of ecosystems as the common heritage of humanity. The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights has the socioecological function of compelling all States and citizens of the world to protect cultural and natural riches, protecting natural resources and ensuring the conservation and protection of the environment, since ecosystems are inalienable, imprescriptible and immune from distraint.
The Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights consecrates that all human beings have the right to enjoy a healthy environment, so that it is guaranteed the fact that the spiritual community (sangha) will participate in the decisions and acts that may affect it. In this way, it is concluded that Japan is violating its duty to protect biodiversity and the integrity of the environment, because it goes against the conservation of species of ecological significance. This violation of the human right to a healthy environment is fundamentally related to the right to life, which can only be guaranteed and enjoyed in conditions of quality, integrity and harmony.
Always with spirit of reconciliation (maitri),
Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha
President and Spiritual Judge of the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights