Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 30th Regular Session

Panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

21 September 2015

Australia thanks the participants in today’s panel on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in particular its focus on the issue of State sanctioned abductions and enforced disappearances.

We extend particular thanks to Mr Koichiro Iizuka and Ms Kwon Eun-kyoung for travelling here today to participate. It is important that we mark that this is the first time that the voices of victims have been heard in this chamber.

The Commission of Inquiry used hundreds of hours of witness testimony to shine a light on the decades of darkness and oppression the DPRK regime has subjected its people to. The Commission extensively documented the impact of songbun, a social system used as a basis to deny people their human rights through the sheer accident of birth to the “wrong” parents.

Witness testimony of torture, rape, forced abortions, sexual violence, and the murder of children in front of their parents was tragic and deeply moving.

We also heard that non-Korean abductees were unable to integrate into social and economic life in the DPRK. They were detained in tightly controlled compounds. They were denied the right to work, precluded from leaving their residences and moving freely in society – a violation of fundamental freedoms.

We would be interested in the panel’s views on how the international community can best engage with the DPRK regime to pragmatically improve the human rights situation on the ground.