EU Statement - United Nations Security Council Arria format: Human Rights in the DPRK

from European Union
Published on 17 Apr 2014 View Original

Summary: 17 April 2014, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Ioannis Vrailas, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Meeting of the UN Security Council in Arria format on the "Briefing of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK"

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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,and Montenegro, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

We very much welcome the initiative taken by France, the United States and Australia to organise a briefing of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK and we are grateful for this opportunity to speak. We also thank the Commission for its work and report.

We are shaken not only by the detailed findings of the report but also by the courage of those who have testified before the Commission and today before us. The Commission's conclusion that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations are being committed in the DPRK warrants a strong international response. The EU supports the recommendation made by the Commission of Inquiry that the Security Council should consider the referral of the situation in the DPRK to the International Criminal Court for action in accordance with that Court's jurisdiction and consider the scope for effective targeted sanctions against those who appear to be most responsible for crimes against humanity. We hope that this arria format meeting will pave the way for the formal consideration of this issue by the Council. As no country in the world can avoid international scrutiny where human rights are concerned, the EU furthermore expects the DPRK to meaningfully participate in this month's Universal Periodic Review.

The EU has been at the forefront of bringing the dire situation of human rights in the DPRK to the attention of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. Every year since 2005 the General Assembly has adopted a resolution on this grave state of affairs. Parallel steps have been taken in Geneva with the creation, 10 years ago, of the Special Rapporteur and the establishment last year of the Commission of inquiry.

The Commission has undoubtedly brought matters to another level documenting the grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations in the DPRK, working in an open and transparent manner. How can the UN system contribute to improve the situation of human rights in this country -that refuses any cooperation with the international community-? What can be done to convince the DPRK to abide by its human rights obligations?

How do you see the role of the DPRK's neighbours to help bringing about positive change to the situation in the DPRK? Do you think that the public opinion in these countries can play a role given the fact that your work has been widely echoed by the media all over the world? Let me end by reiterating the steadfast commitment of the EU to continue raising our voice in situations where the victims are voiceless and as Mr Shin Dong-Hyuk said: "No one has a right to deprive of anyone the DNA of mankind: freedom".

Thank you.