Brazilian media authority and human rights lawyer: “Some of the worst human rights violations of the century.”
Tokyo, 10th February 2024 – Published as an article in the Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. Republished with permission. Translated from Japanese. Original article
“The largest human rights violations of the 20th century” – the abduction and confinement of members of the Family Federation.
Interview with Sergio Redo, President of the São Paulo State Press Association (Part 1).
by Satoru Ayamura (綾村 悟), Sao Paulo
Part 2 of interview
In response to the coverage of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly the Unification Church) in Japan, voices from overseas are beginning to call for information to be publicly disclosed to the international community from the perspective of the believers of the religious organisation having suffered human rights violations.
Sergio Redo is the President of the São Paulo State Press Association (API), a veteran figure in the Brazilian press and a lawyer long involved in issues of freedom and human rights. We interviewed him about his views on religious believers being abducted and confined in order to coerce them to leave their faith, and also asked him about his recommendations for the Japanese society regarding religious freedom. (Interviewer: Satoru Ayamura, Sao Paulo)
– More than 4,300 members of the Family Federation have fallen victim to abduction, confinement, and forced de-conversion guided by deprogrammers and Christian pastors. However, this issue has hardly been reported by major Japanese media outlets.
It started in the 1960s and has continued to the present day. I believe it is the worst and most significant human rights violations. In my opinion, it ranks as one of the largest human rights violations of the 20th century. Even in many wars and conflicts, including World War II, we have rarely seen such a level of human rights violations.
In Japan, a country that claims to be a liberal democracy, at least 4,300 members of the Family Federation have literally suffered abduction and confinement. They were held captive at specific locations, deprived of their freedom and beliefs. Some believers were forcibly sent to psychiatric hospitals, while others, such as Toru Goto, endured over 12 years of captivity. When I saw a photograph of him immediately after his release from abduction and confinement, his emaciated state, with bones protruding due to malnutrition, it left me speechless. Journalists and lawyers should raise awareness about this egregious human rights violation and bring it to society’s attention.
I have been involved in the world of journalism in Brazil for 40 years, but I had no knowledge whatsoever of the truly horrific human rights violations that have been committed in Japan. It’s truly terrible. The world’s major media outlets should take an interest in and expose the issue of abduction, confinement, and forced de-conversion perpetrated against members of the Family Federation in Japan.
As far as I can contribute, I am considering requesting through the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) some form of response from the United Nations Human Rights Commission regarding the issue of abduction and confinement of members of the Family Federation in Japan.
I would also like to suggest that all lawyers seeking social justice take an interest in this human rights issue. In addition to being abducted and confined, members of the Family Federation have faced numerous human rights violations, including being treated as ‘second-class citizens’. I would like to ask the Brazilian Bar Association to see if there is anything that can be done to address the human rights violations, abductions and confinements, and violations of religious freedom experienced by members of the Family Federation.
– Tetsuya Yamagami, the defendant, is believed to have assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe out of hatred for the Family Federation, as Yamagami considered Abe to have a very close relationship with the organization. What are your thoughts on Tetsuya Yamagami’s motive for assassinating former Prime Minister Abe?
From my experience as a lawyer, I believe that most of the motives for all crimes that occur around the world can be summarized in three things: power, love, and money.
I am concerned that Yamagami’s motives may be based on “hatred” and “money.” Think about it. Whatever you do in life, anything based on hatred will always have disastrous consequences for you and those around you.
The assassination of Abe was sparked by Yamagami’s hatred. His mother’s substantial donation to the Family Federation caused him to lose the ‘money that should have been available to him,’ and planted the seeds of hatred in him. But that was decades ago.
Moreover, rather than directing his resentment directly towards the Family Federation, he aimed it at Shinzo Abe. By doing so, he knew that it would attract more attention from the public towards himself. That’s why he targeted Abe.
Continued in part 2.
Sergio de Azevedo Redo is the President of the São Paulo State Press Association (API), Vice President of the Brazilian Press Federation (FENAI), former Chairman of the Legislative Council for Press-Related Bills (an organization within the Brazilian Bar Association), and a full member of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) and the National Federation of Law Scholars (FADESP). He holds a Doctorate in Law. From 1993 to 1997, he served as professor and dean of the Faculty of Business Law at United Metropolitan Colleges (FMU).
With a career spanning 40 years as author, journalist, and lawyer, he hosts the television program “The Newsroom”. He has a wide network of relationships in the media and political spheres, including with former Brazilian President Michel Temer and the President of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), Oliveira. He is 66 years old.
Featured image above: Sergio Redo in February 2024. Photo: Sekai Nippo.
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