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Madame Chair,

The European Union and Japan, on behalf of all the co-sponsors, have the honour to introduce under agenda item 68(c) the draft resolution entitled “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, contained in document L.28.

I would like to thank our co-author, Japan, for the cooperation throughout the process and all co-sponsors for their support.

Since the tabling of this text, the following countries have joined the list of co-sponsors: Micronesia, Montenegro, Panama, the Republic of Moldova, San Marino, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Madame Chair,

The General Assembly has adopted resolutions on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the last ten years, driven by a widely shared concern about the continued grave and systematic human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This year, the findings of the report of the Commission of Inquiry has put the spotlight on the gravity, scale and nature of the human rights violations in the DPRK , as well as the pervasive culture of impunity and the lack of accountability for the perpetrators. The Commission of Inquiry found that a number of these violations may amount to crimes against humanity.

Madame Chair,

The text we are introducing today takes into account the positive steps registered during the past year on the part of the DPRK. The signature of the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography is one of them. We take note of the more positive interaction of the Government of the DPRK during its second Universal Periodic Review process, where it accepted 113 out of 268 recommendations. We also welcome the resumption of the reunions of separated families across the border in February 2014 and call for more regular family reunions.

Furthermore, we note the outcome of the government-level consultation between the DPRK and Japan to address issue related to Japanese nationals in the DPRK including the immediate return of abductees.

We have also noted the willingness to consider human rights dialogues with international interlocutors, including the EU, which have has been reflected in the draft. We welcome the first meeting ever between the DPRK and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and also contacts held with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Nonetheless, these developments are clearly outweighed by the overall human rights situation and the findings presented to us in the Commission of Inquiry report. We regret to note that there have not been any substantive improvements on the ground. The draft resolution therefore will continue to expresses very serious concerns about violations of human rights, such as violations of Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This year the draft resolution also includes our very serious concern about the discrimination based on the Songbun system.

Madame Chair,

We are extremely concerned by the findings in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, which states in its report that crimes against humanity may have been and may continue to be committed by institutions and officials of the DPRK, pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the State. We support the call of the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur that these findings merit a criminal investigation by a competent national or international organ of justice. Therefore, this draft resolution includes an encouragement to the Security Council to take appropriate action to ensure accountability, including through consideration of referral to the International Criminal Court.

We express our serious regret that, despite repeated appeals by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, the government of the DPRK has continued to refuse to cooperate with the special procedures of the UN, particularly through denying access to the Special Rapporteur. We strongly urge the Government of the DPRK to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, in particular by granting him full, free and unimpeded access to the country. The meeting last week is a glimpse of hope. We also emphasise the importance of providing full access to all United Nations entities.

Madame Chair,

We cannot ignore the suffering of the people in DPRK. The co-sponsors of this resolution stand by the victims of the human rights violations in the DPRK and therefore strongly urge the Government of the DPRK to immediately put an end to the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations, including by implementing fully the measures set out in earlier resolutions and the recommendations in the reports of the Special Rapporteur and the Commission of Inquiry.

The main sponsors of this resolution have informed the delegation of the DPRK about this draft and the EU has engaged in discussions with the DPRK on several occasions.

We hope that this text reflects the concerns of all parties who are genuinely interested in giving voice to the most legitimate concerns of the people of the DPRK and will be adopted with the broadest support.

Thank you, Madame Chair.