Joint Statement at the UN Security Council Stakeout on the Human Rights Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at United Nations Security Council Stakeout on DPRK

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2023

Joint Statement Delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the UN Security Council Stakeout on the Human Rights Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

(The following is a joint statement delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, on behalf of Albania, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.)

Good afternoon. Let me thank all of you for being here with us today.

Today’s briefing on the situation in DPRK, reaffirmed an unfortunate reality: nearly 10 years after the UN Commission of Inquiry determined the DPRK’s systemic, widespread, and gross human rights violations amounted to crimes against humanity, the regime has continued these abuses.

This meeting also highlighted the clear links between the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses and its development of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their delivery in violation of international law and in defiance of the will of the international community.

The DPRK remains one of the most repressive governments in the world.

It continues to systematically neglect the wellbeing of its people and deny them their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This week, the DPRK launched yet another ICBM, continuing its unprecedented pace of launches since the start of 2022.

This unlawful WMD ballistic missile program is underpinned by many of the DPRK’s human rights violations.

The DPRK’s use of forced and exploited labor – both domestically and overseas – support this unlawful and threatening program, as do food distribution policies that favor the military and lead to chronic malnourishment among the DPRK’s citizens.

The government’s widespread denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms ensures it can expend inordinate resources, much of which are generated through its illicit cyber activities, on the development of unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs without public objections, even as North Koreans suffer severe economic hardships due in part to this diversion of resources.

By many reports, the DPRK government continues to hold 80,000-120,000 people in political prison camps, where they are subjected to arbitrary or summary executions; torture; starvation; gender-based violence, including forced abortions; forced labor; and inhuman conditions.

Those not in political prison camps are also refused their rights, to include the freedoms of expression and religion or belief.

The DPRK also reportedly seeks to repress the enjoyment of rights outside its territory through acts of transnational repression, including assassinations, surveillance, intimidation, abductions, and forced repatriations – sometimes with assistance from other governments, and sometimes without those government’s consent, which shows the DPRK’s lack of respect of state sovereignty.

We are also gravely concerned by the DPRK’s international abductions and enforced disappearances of citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea, as well as unrepatriated prisoners of war.

We strongly urge the DPRK to resolve all outstanding issues with those detainees, abductees, and disappeared and immediately return them to their homes.

These abuses are well-documented, are directly linked to the North Korean government’s unlawful WMD and ballistic missile program, and clearly undermine international peace and security. The modern world has no place for such brutality. This is why it was so important for us to cohost and cosponsor today’s Arria.

Last month, 62 co-sponsors—double what we had in the year prior—signed a letter requesting the Security Council remain seized with the human rights situation in the DPRK. It is time for the Council to address it publicly.

We urge all Security Council members to support an open briefing in the coming months where we can discuss the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses and their implications for peace and security.

Thank you very much.