Closing Remarks at a UN Event on North Korean Abductions

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 10, 2019


We also thank the experts who joined us today to share their insightful views and ideas about how the international community can better address these issues.

And finally – and most of all – thank you to the family members who have shared their stories this evening.

We are in awe of your strength and support your efforts to call for accountability and transparency regarding the whereabouts of your loved ones.

North Korea remains one of the most repressive states in the world. Its human rights situation is deplorable.

The North Korean government continues to commit arbitrary and unlawful killings, forced disappearances, torture, and other forms of abuse, including sexual violence. The regime interferes with nearly all aspects of its citizens’ lives and benefits through the exploitation of its people by operating an economy based on a system of forced labor.

Yesterday, in Geneva, the United States delegation delivered our intervention at the DPRK’s third Universal Periodic Review, and again called for the dismantlement of North Korea’s political prison camp system, which holds an estimated 100,000 individuals, including children and family members of the accused.

We remain deeply concerned about the abductions issue and North Korea’s egregious human rights record. We are committed to raising international awareness regarding Pyongyang’s continuing abuses and violations, increasing access to independent information, and promoting respect for human rights in the DPRK, including by continuing to shine a light here at the UN on its violations and abuses.

The United States stands with those whose loved ones were abducted. We will never forget the suffering of the victims, nor the pain the families feel in their absence.

Thank you for your attention, and thank you for being with us today.