Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement747

Human Rights Council - 30th Regular Session

Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Seoul Office

21 September 2015

Australia thanks the High Commissioner for the first update on the work of his Office’s field presence in Seoul.

The Seoul office is undertaking essential work, building on the ground-breaking work of the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Commission had a powerful mandate to seek full accountability, and its report provided a detailed factual record and legal analysis of the shocking violations by the DPRK regime.

The DPRK regime is without parallel. It uses public executions without transparent judicial processes and enforced disappearances to terrorise its population. It holds 120,000 of its citizens in camps where prisoners are driven to early deaths through deliberate starvation, torture, and forced labour.

Australia was proud to lead efforts to have the Security Council consider the situation in the DPRK in December 2014.

But the international community must collectively do more. We must work to end impunity for violations of human rights.

The Seoul office will be an important part of these efforts. It will continue to build on the Commission’s report to systematically build the evidence base of the DPRK’s violations of people’s fundamental rights.

We would welcome the High Commissioner’s outline of the Seoul office’s efforts to work towards accountability for the grave, systematic and widespread violations of human rights.