An official website of the United States government

U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of North Korea
May 9, 2019

People are sitting behind tables in a conference room. Some have microphones.

33rd Session,
Geneva, May 9, 2019

as delivered by Mark Cassayre
Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, U.S. Mission

The human rights situation in North Korea is deplorable and has no parallel in the modern world.

We recommend that North Korea:

  1. Immediately dismantle all political prison camps, release all political prisoners, institute protections against arbitrary detention that guarantee due process and fair trial, and grant international observers, including UN Special Procedures, unimpeded and unrestricted access to the country and to all detention facilities.
  2. Allow humanitarian assistance providers operating in North Korea unrestricted and independent movement throughout the country, as well as direct and unimpeded access to all populations in need.
  3. Revise the criminal code, and any other relevant laws or policies, to decriminalize possession and distribution of religious texts.

The United States urges North Korea to adhere to its international human rights obligations and commitments.  We remain deeply concerned about the 80,000 to 120,000 individuals held in deplorable conditions in political prison camps, including thousands of individuals imprisoned for merely possessing a religious text or coming into contact with members of a church.