Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al briefing in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulla situazione dei diritti umani in Corea del Nord —
At the outset, I wish to thank the Japanese Presidency of the Council for organising this meeting. The intimate link between violations of human rights and their repercussions on the maintenance of international peace and security cannot be denied, and it is particularly evident in the case of the DPRK, as also highlighted by Security Council resolutions 2371 and 2375. Hence we believe that this meeting fully falls within the scope and the mandate of the Security Council.
I also wish to thank Mr. Jenca as well as High Commissioner Zeid for their contributions, and I look forward to the Mr. Feltman’s upcoming briefing on his recent visit to DPRK.
Italy expresses its gravest concern for the situation of human rights and the lack of accountability for their violations in the DPRK. The North Korean regime continues to deny its citizens even the most basic rights and liberties, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration and other relevant human rights conventions and instruments. In particular, we have noted with great concern the reported surge in arbitrary detention, the unsolved issues of abductions and enforced disappearances, widespread torture as well as forced repatriations and numerous other gross human rights violations which continue to affect North Korean people in different ways, some of which can be rightly considered as crimes against humanity. Social and political repression is distinctive of the protracted isolation in which North Koreans are forced to live. The systematic suppression of such rights is among the regime’s top priorities, as it suffocates any form of dissent in order to ensure its own survival. We must not forget the tens of thousands of political prisoners who continue to be subjected to the harshest forms of abuse in the regime’s vast network of camps.
Full accountability for those flagrant violations to international norms and conventions has to be ensured, including through ICC referrals.
While regretting that the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Mr. Quintana, has not yet been allowed to visit the country since his appointment, we have followed with interest his visit to the Republic of Korea last July.
In particular, we are gravely concerned by the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens and other nationals: in this regard, we firmly call upon DPRK’s authorities to show actual commitment and make concrete steps to address the issue and to resume full investigations on what happened.
Also, we strongly condemn the exploitation by DPRK of its own national workers abroad whose revenues are forcibly employed by the government to fund its illegal programmes and activities. The Security Council took a very firm stance on this issue in resolution 2375, by prohibiting the issuance of permits for North Korean workers in connection with admission to their respective territories. We urge all Member States to ensure full and effective implementation of this provision.
Moreover, we remain deeply concerned at the consequences of the protracted, entrenched humanitarian situation in the country, with well over half of the population suffering from major insecurities in food and medical care, in a context of direct responsibility of DPRK’s leadership for diverting essential resources away from its population needs to fund its nuclear programme.
We wish therefore to reiterate our call on the Government of the DPRK to take action on the accepted recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review and those of the UN Commission of Inquiry as a matter of priority.
We also call upon the authorities of the DPRK to seriously enact constructive engagement with international interlocutors, particularly in the field of human rights, in order to promote dialogue and explore possibilities for cooperation.
Throughout our Security Council mandate in 2017, we have closely monitored the evolving of the overall situation in the DPRK. We believe that the protection of human rights should be central to any policy of rapprochement and dialogue with Pyongyang authorities, in order to ensure the welfare and dignity of people in the country. As Chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee this year, Italy has made its best efforts, in closed cooperation with the other Security Council Members, to ensure that human rights and humanitarian concerns are given primary consideration.
Let me remind that Security Council resolutions clearly state that the Committee may, on a case by case basis, exempt any activity from the measures imposed by the Council if the Committee determines that sanctions’ exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of such organizations in the DPRK. In this spirit, this afternoon, the 1718 Committee will hear a briefing by OCHA on UN operations in the DPRK and how the humanitarian activities can be carried out without being affected or hindered by the strengthening of the sanctions’ regime.
I would like also to remind that in the framework of the UNGA 72 Third Committee, as Member of the European Union we have been among the main sponsors, together with Japan, of the Resolution on the “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, adopted by consensus a few weeks ago
Allow me therefore to conclude by underscoring that the two aims of the pursuit of accountability for human rights violations and the promotion of engagement with the DPRK to redress the situation reinforce, rather than undermining, one another, as highlighted by Mr. Ojea Quintana in his latest report.
I thank you.