UK Statement at the Panel on the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Geneva, 21 September 2015.
The UK welcomes today’s panel discussion on the human rights situation in the DPRK. We would like to thank the panel members for their presentations on what is a difficult and - at times - heart wrenching issue.
As our Minister of State, Hugo Swire, reminded us in the Council only last week, UN member states must do everything they can to ensure the DPRK responds to the appalling human rights violations documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in the DPRK. As Michael Kirby and other panellists have highlighted, the scale and brutality of the sustained and systematic human rights violations in the DPRK calls for action. The UK has worked with a range of countries to seek justice and accountability for those whose voices are all too often not heard. We will continue to do so.
The accounts of international abductions and enforced disappearances during today’s panel were especially moving. One can only imagine the heartache and suffering of families who are separated from their loved ones.
We lend our support to the efforts of those who are seeking resolution of this difficult matter. In July this year, the British Embassy in Seoul hosted a seminar organised by a local NGO which brought in speakers from across the globe to share their experiences on international abductions and enforced disappearances. The newly established UN field office in Seoul also participated. Speakers helped to identify some practical steps activists and families could take. As one participant noted, events like this could mark the beginning of a conversation on how to ensure truth and justice while at the same time moving forward. We encourage other member states to support similar activity.
We have a question we would like to put to the panel: How can we best ensure the DPRK engages constructively in response to the concerns of the international community on human rights?