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US Joins Call for Commission of Inquiry into Widespread Human Rights Violations in North Korea
March 11, 2013

Ambassador Robert King, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights issues, speaking at a press conference March 11 at the U.N. Office at Geneva.

Statement by Ambassador Robert King
U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights Issues

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (Mr. Marzuki DARUSMAN)

HRC 22 / 11 March 2013

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States welcomes Special Rapporteur Darusman’s comprehensive report to the Council.  In particular, we welcome his call for the creation of an inquiry mechanism with adequate resources to investigate and document the grave, systematic, and widespread violations occurring inside the DPRK.

We also welcome the statement in January of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for her strong statement in support of an inquiry mechanism.

Mr. Darusman has provided excellent reports to the Council on the deplorable human rights conditions in the DPRK.  We believe that the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, with the participation of the Special Rapporteur, will give greater impetus and focus to our effort as we seek improvement in human rights conditions for the people of the DPRK.

It is regrettable that the government of the DPRK continues to bar the Special Rapporteur from visiting the country to fulfill his mandate and observe and assess the human rights situation objectively.  We hope the DPRK will consider engaging directly with Mr. Darusman, and with members of the Commission of Inquiry.  We also hope the DPRK will recognize the benefits of cooperating with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other thematic special rapporteurs, for assistance on how to best implement international human rights mechanisms.

We would like to focus on a few points of the report.  We appreciate the Special Rapporteur’s efforts to analyze all United Nations documentation and resolutions on the DPRK since 2004.   He highlighted patterns of violations in nine areas, from violations of the right to life, to political prisons to enforced disappearances, including abductions.

We seek his views on the trends in DPRK human rights practices uncovered during his review, and the most alarming human rights violations that he has identified.

We are deeply concerned by and agree with the Special Rapporteur’s assessment that the DPRK has taken no steps to address the systematic and widespread human rights violations in the country.

We would welcome recommendations for first steps the DPRK could take to begin a process toward human rights reform.  In addition, we would welcome recommendations for how the international community could increase pressure, work with the DPRK, and encourage human rights reform.

The DPRK has a choice: it can address its human rights abuses – a step that would be welcomed by the international community – or face further isolation.