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2009年1月13日 (火)

赤羽さん解放―人道救援の志も救われた

2009/1/13

--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 12(IHT/Asahi: January 13,2009)

EDITORIAL: Abducted doctor freed

赤羽さん解放―人道救援の志も救われた

Keiko Akahane, a Japanese doctor who was kidnapped in Ethiopia in September last year, was freed last week after being held captive for 3? months in Somalia.

 アフリカ・エチオピアで昨年9月に誘拐された医師赤羽桂子さんが、3カ月半ぶりに無事解放された。 

"I'm happy to have lived to see this day," Akahane said at a news conference in Paris, where French aid group Medecins du Monde (MDM, Doctors of the World) is based.

Akahane was working as a member of the group when she was abducted.

 「生きてこの日を迎えることができてうれしい」。所属する国際NGO「世界の医療団」本部のあるパリで記者会見した赤羽さんはこう語った。 

Her family and friends must have felt immense relief to find her safe and sound. We share their happiness.

 元気な表情に家族や友人はほっと胸をなでおろしていることだろう。その喜びを分かち合いたい。 

When she went to Ethiopia in April last year, she realized her childhood dream of doing medical work in a developing country.

 途上国の医療協力にたずさわることが小さい頃からの夢だった赤羽さんは昨年4月、現地に入った。 

For a while after she was abducted by an armed group and taken to neighboring Somalia, she thought "This is it" every time she heard the kidnappers touching their guns, according to Akahane's account of her life in captivity.

 武装集団に誘拐され、隣国ソマリアに連行された赤羽さんは当初、犯人の銃の触る音がするたびに「もう終わりかと思った」という。 

She said she could endure the days of living in constant fear of death because of her strong feelings toward her family. It seems she also found solace in daily conversations with a Dutch nurse who was kidnapped with her and by reading books.

 そんな恐怖の日々に耐えられたのは、家族への強い思いからだった。同僚のオランダ人看護師との日々の会話や読書も心の支えになったようだ。 

Somalia is a totally failed nation. A serious deterioration of the public safety situation in the eastern African country has led to rampant kidnappings of foreigners. Pirates operating off Somalia are also posing a nagging maritime security problem for the international community.

 ソマリアは破綻(は・たん)国家の状態にある。治安悪化によって最近は、外国人を狙った身代金目的の誘拐事件が続発している。ソマリア沖に出没する海賊も国際社会を悩ませている。 

We wonder how well MDM understood the seriousness of the security situation in the region.

 そうした状況を「世界の医療団」はどこまでつかんでいたのだろうか。 

The French aid organization, founded in 1980, operates aid work in about 50 countries on an annual budget of more than 10 billion yen. It is a sophisticated, well-experienced humanitarian aid group.

 「世界の医療団」は80年に創設された。年間100億円余りの資金を使って約50カ国で活動している。いわば人道支援のプロ集団といえる。 

While working in Ethiopia, Akahane and her colleagues first gathered security information every morning to ensure their safety. Still, they failed to detect the movement of the armed group, which crossed the border and sneaked up on them. This is the grim reality of a conflict area.

 赤羽さんたちは現地で毎朝一番に情報を集め、安全を確かめていた。そこまでやっても国境を越えて忍び寄る武装集団の動きを察知できなかった。これが紛争地の現実である。 

MDM negotiated with the kidnappers on its own. The Japanese government just monitored the related developments in response to a request from the French aid group.

 犯人グループとの交渉は「世界の医療団」自身が担った。要請を受けて日本政府も事態の推移を見守った。 

There is no functioning government to depend on in Somalia. MDM apparently thought involvement by the Japanese government would only complicate the negotiations. MDM's strategy for dealing with the situation has proved successful.

 ソマリアに頼れる政府はない。かといって日本政府の関与を求めても、かえって交渉が複雑になってしまう。そんな判断が結果的に功を奏した。 

What must not be forgotten is that Japanese nongovernmental organizations operating aid work overseas do not have the ability to conduct similar negotiations with an armed group. If a Japanese aid group becomes embroiled in a similar situation, the Japanese government would have to take action to fulfill its duty to protect Japanese nationals.

 忘れてならないのは、同種の事件が日本のNGOに起きたら、そんな交渉能力を到底望めないことだ。やはりそこは日本政府が自国民保護の責務を果たさねばならないだろう。 

Japanese NGOs began operating large-scale humanitarian aid activities in various parts of the world in the 1980s. Their efforts have contributed greatly to raising Japan's stature in the international community. But their operations are always fraught with danger.

 日本のNGOによる人道支援活動は80年代から本格化し、国際社会での日本の評価を高めるために大きな役割を果たした。だがその活動はいつも危険と隣り合わせだ。 

In a tragic incident in August last year, Japanese aid worker Kazuya Ito, who was working in eastern parts of Afghanistan, was abducted by an armed group and killed immediately afterward.

 昨年8月にはアフガニスタン東部で活動中の伊藤和也さんが武装グループに誘拐され、直後に殺害された。 

But the NGO he belonged to, Peshawar-kai, has continued irrigation and agricultural work in the country in order to build on Ito's legacy.

 しかし彼の属したNGOペシャワール会は彼の遺志を生かそうと、現地での水利や農業事業を続けている。 

Akahane, who said she wanted to rest awhile in Japan, nevertheless expressed hope that she will be able to do aid work in a similar place again.

 まずは帰国して休養を取りたいという赤羽さんは「また、このようなところで活動できたら」とも語った。 

Humanitarian aid activities in developing countries can continue because of contributions by many such dedicated people. We all should give moral support to young people committed to serving the cause of humanity.

 多くの人々に支えられながら人道支援の志が受け継がれていく。後に続く若者をみんなで応援したい。

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