Agenda Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in DPRK
Topic: Human Rights in DPRK
Organisation: Jubilee Campaign
Speaker: Sini Maria Heikkila
Jubilee Campaign together with Christian Solidarity Worldwide thanks the Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana for his new report and urges international community to implement its recommendations – and the recommendations in the report of the Group of Independent Experts in a swift, comprehensive manner.
Kim Jong Nam’s assassination on 13 February 2017 exposes once again the shocking lengths which the North Korean government is willing to take in order to silence their opponents. Although North Korea’s nuclear missile launch on 12 February 2017 brings the security situation on the Korean Peninsula into sharp focus, the international community must engage the DPRK in a critical, constructive human rights dialogue and seek to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are held accountable.
The human rights situation in the DPRK is one of the most appalling that exists in the world today. The UN Commission of Inquiry Report, published in February 2014, provides a ground-breaking account of the widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights in the country, characterising many of these violations as crimes against humanity. Religious believers, and Christians in particular, continue to be sent to political prison camps (kwanliso) purely because of their faith. In these camps extermination, torture, rape and other inhumane acts are committed in a systematic manner. There is no freedom of religion or belief in North Korea at all.
The Commission of Inquiry report affirms that appalling human rights violations are the result of state policy and are essential components of the political system. Accountability for crimes therefore extends to the leadership and we join international calls for the human rights situation in North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Mr President. On 13 February 2017 a Report by the Group of Independent Experts on Accountability called on the Council to strengthen the OHCHR’s field-base structure in Seoul and to take further actions towards accountability at the international level. We join their call for the Council to table a strong resolution addressing human rights and impunity in North Korea and to create a fund to support future accountability mechanisms.
Thank you Mr President.