Today, just as the designation of the "Century of Human Rights" indicates, various problems concerning human rights, at both the domestic and the international levels, present themselves, and attract the attention of a wide range of people.

At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations Charter declared that one of the purposes of the United Nations is "to achieve international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms". Various treaties and declarations concerning human rights such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women have been adopted. Furthermore, regional human rights protection systems have been established in Western Europe, America and Africa. "Respect for human rights" is also one of the most important principles of the Japanese Constitution. In fact today respect for human rights has become a global trend.

Kyoto, since the establishment of Heian Kyo, has assimilated various foreign cultures and developed its own culture which has a markedly international character. It also has a long history of concern for human rights. Given the background of Kyoto and looking toward the 21" century, it is indeed timely to establish the Human Rights Research Institute, as part of the commemorative projects of the 1200th anniversary of the establishment of HeianKyo.

The policy of this Institute is to emphasize not only the works of individual researchers in the Institute, but also to gather scholars of human rights from all over Japan for the purpose of conducting a collective research. Therefore, researchers include not only full-time researchers, but also visiting researchers, as well as part-time researchers. Visiting researchers are those who, while belonging to other universities or research institutes, participate in various study projects of this Institute on semi-permanent basis. Part-time researchers are those who participate in a specific study project when necessary. Under this system, the Institute is open to all human rights researchers in Japan and plans to be the center of comprehensive joint research on human rights in Japan. In addition, the Institute will invite scholars from abroad to participate in its projects as need may arise.

The Kyoto Human Rights Research Institute is intended to become a center for research activities on human rights in Japan, and is expected to produce notable achievement in the study of this field.

October 1994

All of the Founders Present