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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union and Japan have the honour to submit to this Committee the draft resolution contained in document L.37/Rev.1, entitled “The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK). This draft resolution was cosponsored by 51 States. In addition to the cosponsors listed in document L.37/Rev.1, New Zealand, Honduras and El Salvador have joined the group of cosponsors.

Mr. Chairman,

With this draft resolution, the cosponsors’ aim is to call the attention of the international community to the extremely serious human rights situation prevailing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Despite reiterated appeals of UN bodies, including the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, the Government has failed to cooperate with UN bodies or special procedures, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, and to take measures to put an end to the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights occurring in the country, as reported by reliable sources.

These violations include the widespread and systematic practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, namely inhuman conditions of detention; the absence of due process and the rule of law, inter alia fair trial guarantees and an independent judiciary; the imposition of the death penalty for political and religious reasons; the situation of refugees and asylum seekers expelled or returned to the DPRK and the punishment of those who leave or try to leave the country without permission and of individuals exercising their freedom of opinion and expression, and of their families. The draft resolution expresses equal concern at systematic violations of economic, social and cultural rights in the country, which have led to severe malnutrition and widespread health problems for the DPRK’s population, inter alia women, children and the elderly; at instances of gender-based discrimination and at violations of workers’ rights.

The Government of the DPRK is strongly urged immediately to put an end to the systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations occurring in the country, inter alia by implementing fully the measures set out in GA and CHR resolutions adopted on the human rights situation in DPRK; to extend its full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur, including by granting him full, free and unimpeded access to the country, as well as to other UN human rights mechanisms; to engage in technical cooperation activities in the field of human rights with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office; and to extend to UN agencies and other humanitarian actors all necessary access allowing them to carry out their mandates.

The Government is furthermore strongly called upon to resolve questions of international concern relating to the abduction of foreigners in a transparent manner, including by ensuring the immediate return of abductees.

Mr. Chairman,

The cosponsors of this draft resolution have tried to engage the DPRK in the negotiations of this text. Unfortunately, once again the DPRK has refused to do so. Still, all efforts were made to ensure that the text now before us is balanced and reflects the concerns of all parties who are genuinely interested in giving voice to the people of the DPRK. In this regard, and pursuant to extensive consultations with interested delegations, a new premabular paragraph was included in the text, welcoming the inter-Korean summit held from 2 to 4 October 2007, as well as the recent progress in the Six Party Talks, and encouraging the improvement of the human rights situation in the DPRK including through their effective follow-up.

The cosponsors of this draft resolution reiterate that the GA must not stand silent at the plight of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We appeal to all States genuinely interested in the promotion of human rights to enable the General Assembly to give voice to the victims, by voting in favour of draft resolution L.37/Rev.1. It is our hope that it will be adopted with the broadest possible support.

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