62nd Session of the General Assembly - 3th Committee "The situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" Statement by Jorge Lobo de Mesquita, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations on behalf of the European Union and Japan, New York, November 8th 2007
The situation of human rights in the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
On behalf of the European Union, Japan and all the co-sponsors, I have the honour to introduce, under agenda item 70 (c), the draft resolution entitled “The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK).
In addition to the countries listed in L.37, the following countries – Andorra, Iceland, Moldova and Serbia – have also become co-sponsors to this draft resolution.
The situation of human rights in the DPRK remains an issue of grave concern to the sponsors of this draft resolution. The text takes account of some positive signs on the part of the DPRK’s authorities over the last year, namely the collaboration established with international agencies such as UNICEF and WHO, and the openness shown by the Government in seeking outside assistance promptly after the latest floods. The sponsors of this draft resolution also welcome the progress in the recent 6-party talks and the inter-Korean Summit, and encourage the improvement of the human rights situation in the DPRK through their effective follow-up.
Despite this, grave concern is expressed at the persistence of continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the country. These include instances of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, namely inhuman conditions of detention; the absence of due process and the rule of law, inter alia fair trial guarantees and an independent judiciary; the imposition of the death penalty for political and religious reasons; the situation of refugees and asylum seekers expelled or returned to the DPRK and the punishment of those who leave or try to leave the country without permission and of individuals exercising their freedom of opinion and expression, and of their families.
It expresses equal concern at violations of economic, social and cultural rights in the country, which have led to severe malnutrition and widespread health problems for the DPRK’s population, inter alia women, children and the elderly; at instances of gender-based discrimination and at violations of workers’ rights.
The DPRK’s Government is strongly urged immediately to put an end to the systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations occurring in the country, inter alia by implementing fully the measures set out in GA and CHR resolutions adopted on the human rights situation in DPRK; and to tackle the root causes leading to refugee outflows and criminalise those who exploit refugees by human smuggling, trafficking and extortion, while not criminalising the victims.
In this regard, and while expressing very serious concern at the Government’s continued refusal to recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, the draft resolution strongly urges the Government to extend its full cooperation to this Special Rapporteur, including by granting him full, free and unimpeded access to the country, and to other UN human rights mechanisms; to engage in technical cooperation activities in the field of human rights with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office; and to extend to UN agencies and other humanitarian actors all necessary access allowing them to carry out their mandates.
The Government is furthermore strongly urged to resolve questions of international concern relating to the abduction of foreigners in a transparent manner, including by ensuring the immediate return of abductees.
The sponsors of this draft resolution believe that the GA must not stand silent at the plight of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We appeal to all States to join us in our efforts to call the attention of the international community to this profoundly worrying situation and hope that draft resolution L.37 be adopted with the broadest possible support.