North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Inter-Korea Scuffle at UN Panel

Inter-Korean tensions found their way to the UN Mission in Geneva.  On 12 March (Monday) the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 19th regular session held “interactive dialogues” on Iran, Myanmar and the DPRK. (Report available here as PDF)  According to a rough transcript prepared by the UNHRC:

Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said that there had been a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in the country and that more than six million people urgently required food assistance. A number of constitutional and legislative provisions had seriously endangered the impartiality and independence of the judiciary in the country, while as many as 20 executions were reported to have been carried out in 2011. No progress had been made in resolving the question of the abduction of foreign nationals, and the safety and protection of refugees and asylum-seekers was of deep concern. Mr. Darusman called on all States to adhere to their obligation of providing international protection to asylum-seekers and to adhere to the principle of non-refoulement.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking as the concerned country, said it did not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country. This mandate was a product of political plot and confrontation by the United States, Japan, the European Union and other western countries in advocacy of a hostile policy. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected the report of the Special Rapporteur and said that it was a document of political ploy full of unfounded and irrational allegations fabricated and spread by hostile forces.

In the ensuing debate, speakers noted with regret and concern the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. Countries called on the neighbouring States to deal with them in a humane manner and with respect for the principle of non-refoulement. The Government needed to resolve the question of separated families and abductees, repeal the death penalty and urgently address the flaws in the food production system that had led to the current food shortage. The new leadership might represent an opportunity to engage with the international community with a view to addressing all questions and concerns related to human rights and fundamental freedoms. The situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been on the agenda of the Human Rights Council for far too long, some speakers said, adding that the Universal Periodic Review allowed examining human rights situation in States on an equal footing and in a cooperative manner.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, United States, China, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Slovakia, Cuba, Syria, Ecuador, Spain, Canada, Viet Nam, Australia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and France. Also taking the floor were Human Rights Watch and United Nations Watch.

After DPRK Ambassador to the UN Mission Geneva, So Se Pyong, delivered the country’s official response (one of Ri Chol’s old jobs), he attempted to leave the meeting.  On his way out, a small delegation of South Korean elected officials and activists attempted to talk to So, which was followed by a bit of a commotion.  AFP reports:

A scuffle broke out Monday in the UN Human Rights Council and a man was detained by security after a North Korean diplomat said a critical report by an independent expert had been fabricated.

North Korea said it “roundly rejects this useless interpretation” which it said was “fabricated by hostile elements” and it called on the council not to renew the mandate of the special rapporteur on human rights Marzuki Darusman.

As the North Korean delegate was leaving the hall a scuffle ensued and a man was held by UN security officials before being later released.

The dispute erupted when council members took note of a report by Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea.

The report covers the period from September 2011 to January 2012, when the situation “continued to deteriorate” said Darusman’s report.

After the report was presented, several representatives took the floor, led by North Korea, followed by the European Union and Japan.

While the Japanese representative was about to finish his speech, the North Korean diplomat stood up to leave and the scuffle broke out.

The report said the human rights and humanitarian situation in North Korea has deteriorated in recent months, while adding that the leadership transition following Kim Jong-Il’s death in December was an opportunity for reform.

“The current transition may be a window of opportunity for the country to adopt a reform process and address all questions and concerns in relation to human rights,” said Darusman.

Kim Jong-Un took over as leader of the North Korean regime after his father Kim Jong-Il’s death on December 17 from a heart attack at the age of 69.

2 comments on “Inter-Korea Scuffle at UN Panel

  1. Pingback: Inter-Korea Scuffle at UN Panel | Korea Watch

  2. Pingback: Inter-Korea Scuffle at UN Panel | NK News

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