In 2019, we continued activities on “Advocacy and networking of people who are struggling against land expropriation caused by free trade”, “Advocacy about conflicts and peacebuilding”, and others. Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique made a contract about the agricultural development in northern Mozambique in 2009 under the Official Development Assistance (ODA). This project is called ProSAVANA (Program of Triangle Cooperation for Agricultural Development of the Tropical Savannah in Mozambique), to which local farmers and civil societies have been raising an objection since 2012. We also have been objecting to this project together with them. We have organized a workshop to discuss national security policy specifically about the dispatching of the Japanese Self-Defense Force overseas. It has motivated the activities of “NGO No War Net” in 2020.
Security Policy, Restriction of Civil Activities, and Others
Security Policy and Others
On the occasion of dispatching the Japanese Self-Defense Force to the Middle East, we organized a workshop in November 2019 together with other NGOs to discuss the deployment. It triggered a meeting of “NGO No War Net” after a break of several years and opened a way to have regular workshops in 2020. A security law unconstitutional lawsuit was filed at the Yokohama district court in October 2019, and Imai, our president, testified as a witness on the plaintiff side. Based on the incidents that happened in South Sudan, he testified that Kaketsuke-keigo (rush protection) and joint camp guard may violate the constitution that prohibits the use of force overseas.
Restrictions by the Japanese Government on the Travel to ‘Dangerous’ (Conflict) Areas
In collaboration with the Japan NGO Initiative for Safety and Security (JaNISS), we raised questions about the restrictions by the Japanese government on the overseas travel of NGO staff to conflict areas, which deviates from international standards and local security situations. We lobbied the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and relevant bodies to ease such travel restrictions.
Advocacy and Networking with the People who fight Against Land Expropriation Caused by Free Trade
While the situation of ProSAVANA has not yet improved, the lawyers’ association of Mozambique sued the Ministry of Agriculture, which has control over the coordination office of ProSAVANA, to the administrative court of Maputo city. In August 2018, all the judges passed judgment that ProSAVANA violates the public’s right to know and ordered full disclosure of the material relevant to the project within 10 days. However, neither the government of Mozambique nor of Japan took action to the judgment.
We proposed an agenda in the regular meeting of NGOs and MOFA under the ODA Policy Council to discuss the issues surrounding the project. In August 2019, we have invited a leader of farmers in Mozambique and some members of civil societies to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and had discussions with MOFA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition, we raised awareness of Japanese people through events and disseminating information to the media. The talk of the leader of farmers in Mozambique was on the news of a terrestrial broadcasting. Then, JICA published a statement that the leader “misrepresented” the facts, which further increased the human rights violation. Under this situation, nine members of parliament organized open meetings to discuss the issue in December 2019 and February 2020. Members of MOFA, JICA, and NGOs including JVC attended the meetings and continued discussions. We pointed out that the statement of JICA itself was a misrepresentation of the facts by showing specific examples and requested JICA and MOFA to withdraw the statement from their website. Although we asked them again to respond to the judgment of the court of Maputo, no action has been done up till now. The sequence of these events has been broadcast on the media and is widely known by the public.
In addition to ProSAVANA, the Japanese government conducts the development of natural resources (coal and natural gas) and infrastructure (railways and ports) in the Nacala Corridor, an area located in the north of Mozambique. Japanese enterprises are deeply involved in this project and public funds are committed through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI). Since we confirmed that some residents such as farmers and fishermen are forcibly moved and their environment is damaged, we continue policy discussions with the Ministry of Finance and JBIC. In the Cabo Delgado province, where natural gas is developed, armed forces that proclaim themselves as “IS” are emerging, and many residents involved in the fighting between the armed forces and the governmental force, have been killed or injured. We will continue watching the situation in Mozambique and making policy recommendations.
[Source: JVC Annual Report 2019]Share This: