Intervention of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 30 – Geneva
Panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the issue of international abductions, enforced disappearances and related matters
As Delivered by Ambassador Robert King
U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights Issues
September 21, 2015
Thank you, Mr. President and distinguished panelists, for your remarks. We take note of the strong rhetoric from the DPRK. If the DPRK objects to the findings of the panel, we urge the country to invite the Special Rapporteur and international representatives to see for themselves. The United States applauds the efforts of the Council to provide a voice for the voiceless by hosting this conversation on the victims of human rights violations in the DPRK.
Mr. President, the DPRK remains among the world’s most flagrant violators of human rights. The Commission of Inquiry’s February 2014 final report documented systematic, ongoing, and widespread human rights violations. The atrocities committed by this government are appalling. Reports of high level officials being executed without fair trials have become more frequent in recent years. Defectors report, and satellite imagery has confirmed, the practice of public executions using anti-aircraft artillery. In most instances, these acts are carried out arbitrarily without access to a fair trial or equal protection of the law.
As we heard today, nongovernmental organizations estimate 80,000 to 120,000 individuals, including children, are imprisoned in DPRK’s political prison camps. Inmates at these camps are subjected to forced labor, starvation, and inhuman conditions. Whole families are imprisoned when one family member is purported to have committed a purported crime. The United States is particularly concerned with recent reports that a large number of prisoners have disappeared, including those in Camp 15, also known as Yodok. We urge the DPRK to make known the whereabouts of all prisoners, including those unaccounted for, and immediately dismantle this brutal political prison camp system.
In addition to domestic disappearances, there are numerous reports of the DPRK’s practice of international abductions. We call upon the DPRK to resolve abductions and permit separated families be reunited.