The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
Roland and Monique Contributed Great Deal to Peace and Justice in Asia and the Pacific
By Osamu Niikura (Japan)
Professor emeritus, Aoyama Gakuin University and Attorney at law
Former Secretary General of the IADL & Former President of Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)
President of Japan Democratic Lawyers Association (JDLA)
The first appearance of Roland and Monique in Japan was in their book, “La part du droit dans la reálité et dans l’action.” The original was published in 1968, and the Japanese translation appeared in 1974.
Then Roland appeared in person in Tokyo as a guest speaker. He gave lectures at universities in major cities in Japan. A big conference room was full of enthusiastic students. Roland’s outspoken tone of speech was really exciting, containing several examples of daily struggles for justice. It was a very moving effort to demystify so-called Marxist orthodoxies.
When I was in Paris, an international conference on Women’s Rights was held. A participant from Vietnam gave a long talk about people’s daily struggles for rights under still difficult situations. The chairperson abruptly broke in and told her that time was up. Then a voice interrupted, “Why don’t you give a special time for our guest, who has made a long trip from Asia to Paris?” It was Monique, and the chair provided extra time. Monique was sensitive to the true meanings of “Equality” and “Justice,”
In 2008, more than 30,000 of people gathered near Tokyo from all over Japan and globally. It was the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War. More than 30 progressive lawyers from the around the world were invited to commemorate Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution known for proactive pacifism. Roland was a panel member. Ultimately, a communique was adopted which called for a wider connection of the move for Japanese Article 9 with other peace movements on the planet, including the UN Decade for Culture of Peace. This was suggested by Roland, who also pointed out that all foreign military bases should be removed from the globe.
In 2006, in preparation for the world conference, we planned to conduct a campaign tour in France. Meetings, both large and small, were set up in Paris, Rouen, Grenoble, and so on; all were initiated by a single phone call from Roland. More importantly, these had been miraculously organized despite general strikes taking place all over the country, thanks to Roland, who even drove us to a town meeting outside of Paris.
In 2013, Roland was again with us in Osaka. He was a main guest speaker before as many as 5,000 people. He never forgot to add the importance of article 26 of the UN Charter regarding disarmament. In those days, strong counter winds were blowing: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a populist like Donald Trump, unveiled his ambitious challenge for constitutional changes. Abe intends to prepare our country to again initiate war.
We have to stop here. It was a long and winding road that Roland and Monique walked with the peoples of the world. Roland was a Giant Guide to peace and justice, who was always good in spirits, honestly showing us a better side of our future. Monique, his better half, was a Fervent Promoter of Human Rights, who loved to smoke, but never lost sight of the people, especially the feeble. Together Roland and Monique have left us many writings, books, articles, comments and remarks. We should make use of them. Thanks, Roland and Monique. I will never say ADIEU. AU REVOIR, Monique et Roland.