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U.S. Remains Deeply Concerned by Widespread and Gross Human Rights Violations in North Korea
March 17, 2015

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  

28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council  

March 16, 2015 – Geneva 

As Delivered by Ambassador Robert King
U.S. Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States commends the Special Rapporteur’s excellent report to the Council, which highlights the egregious human rights violations committed by the DPRK.

We remain deeply concerned by ongoing widespread and gross human rights violations committed by the DPRK government.  We regret that the government continues to refuse to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and withdrew its offer made last October to allow him to visit and observe human rights conditions in accordance with his mandate.

We strongly support the Special Rapporteur’s calls for accountability and commend the Office of the High Commissioner’s efforts to establish a field-based structure for continued monitoring and documenting human rights violations and abuses.

The Special Rapporteur’s report highlights the systematic practice of abductions and enforced disappearances.  We call upon the DPRK to provide the families and nations of origin of all persons who have been abducted or otherwise forcibly disappeared, with full information on their whereabouts; allow those who remain alive, and their descendants, to return to their country or origin; and to identify and repatriate the physical remains of those who have died.

We will remain strongly committed to working closely with the international community to sustain international attention on the ongoing egregious human rights violations in North Korea and to seek ways to advance accountability for those most responsible.

We join with others in urging the DPRK to address these ongoing human rights violations and accept the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur.  We urge the DPRK to engage directly with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Rapporteur Darusman, and thematic special rapporteurs on how to fulfill its international human rights obligations and commitments.

DPRK has a choice: it can address its human rights record by taking steps to immediately release all political prisoners, dismantle the political prison camps, and provide adequate fair trial protections, or it can face further isolation.

  • We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s thoughts on steps the DPRK might take to begin a process of human rights reform, in particular first steps for returning abductees and the disappeared to their nations of origin and reuniting them with their families.
  • We would also welcome the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations on necessary reforms to the DPRK legal system to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including with respect to fair trials.