Use Human Rights Day to Reaffirm Need for Action on North Korean Human Rights

Press release

Seoul, December 10, 2013
On the 65th annual International Human Rights Day, the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) said today that it is looking forward to the forthcoming report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The ICNK, which comprises 42 groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), and Christian Solidarity Worldwide, praised the Commission of Inquiry for conducting a thorough and public information-gathering effort and holding hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, and London.

Eunkyoung Kwon at the ICNK Secretariat said today, “The Commission of Inquiry has really made an exceptional effort to shed light on the mass atrocity crimes being committed against the North Korean people by North Korea government, and provided a tremendous opportunity for victims to have their important testimonies heard by the United Nations.”

Anticipating the release of the Commission’s report next February, Kwon further stated, “Based on the research and information from our members, we believe the North Korean government has perpetrated crimes against humanity against the North Korean people. It is critically important that the recommendations put forward by the Commission be robust, clear, and comprehensive, and should provide a global call to action to address the suffering of the North Korean people.”

ICNK said the totality of the UN system, including the Security Council, should be engaged to address the crimes against humanity being committed in North Korea. In addition, it will be essential for the UN Human Rights Council to create both a formal follow-up mechanism for the Commission’s recommendations, to include:

  • Subject to the Commission advising otherwise, the UN should ensure accountability for those responsible for crimes against the North Korean people by the International Criminal Court or other appropriate international justice mechanism;
  • Providing additional resources for the work of OHCHR on North Korea;
  • Gathering evidence and testimonies that might one day be used to prosecute those responsible for grave crimes against the North Korean people
    Creating a permanent repository for the papers of the Commission.
    The ICNK urges the member states of the United Nations to strongly support the findings and recommendations of the Commission.
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