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U.S. urges North Korea to dismantle all political prison camps, release political prisoners
September 19, 2014

Adoption of the UPR Report of the DPRK
Agenda Item #6
Statement of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Robert King
Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues
Human Rights Council, Geneva
September 19, 2014

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States appreciates the opportunity to comment on the final Working Group Report for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and expresses hope that this will lead to greater opportunity for dialogue with the DPRK on human rights issues.

First, Mr. President, we acknowledge the progress that the DPRK has made over the last 4½ years in providing greater rights for persons with disabilities, including its accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and changes made in national legislation.  We urge the DPRK to continue this progress for persons with disabilities and to take action on other areas of serious human rights deficiencies.

We are disappointed by the government’s refusal to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms.  We join the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur in calling upon the DPRK to acknowledge the existence of political prison camps, to dismantle all such camps, to release all political prisoners, and to abandon the use of torture, arbitrary detention, summary execution, forced abortion and other forms of sexual violence.

We note the discussions between the DPRK and Japan on abductions of Japanese citizens.  We hope these discussions will permit the resolution of this issue in an open and transparent manner.  We also urge the DPRK to work to resolve abductions and disappearances of citizens of other countries and to permit separated families to be reunited.

DPRK citizens who wish to leave the country should be permitted freely to leave without hindrance.  We urge all countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement and not repatriate DPRK citizens who merit or are seeking protection.

We urge the DPRK to cooperate with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his office in discussing and improving its human rights policies.  The government of the United States is also prepared to engage in discussions of these human rights issues with the government of the DPRK.

Thank you, Mr. President.