United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
December 15, 2023
Joint Statement by Albania, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States on the Human Rights Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
As we observe the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this week and reflect on our inalienable rights, it is important we remember and advocate for those who are denied these same rights. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK, which concluded that the DPRK’s human rights violations amount to crimes against humanity. The DPRK government still has one of the worst records of human rights violations and abuses – both within its own territory and outside. These include acts involving executions, assassinations, abductions – including from Japan and the Republic of Korea – intimidations, and unlawful detentions.
The DPRK government continues to commit widespread human rights violations and abuses and the North Korean people are unable to exercise their rights, including freedoms of expression, thought, conscience, and religion, peaceful assembly, association, and movement, and their privacy rights and the right to be free from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, and the DPRK government continues to ignore the basic needs of its people. The DPRK continues to repress its people through the lack of rule of law, censorship, and discrimination on the grounds of political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, and other statuses.
UN experts and reports have expressed concern about forced repatriation of DPRK asylum seekers. As the DPRK reopens its borders, we call on all Member States to uphold their international legal obligations and respect the principle of non-refoulement.
In August of this year, the Security Council held its first open briefing on the human rights situation in the DPRK since 2017. Council members and experts emphasized how the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses are inextricably linked with the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancements. Fifty-two Member States and the Delegation of the European Union joined that day to reaffirm the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses demand the Council’s continued attention.
This was a momentous occasion, but the Security Council’s work on this issue does not stop there. We call on the DPRK to abide by its obligations under international law to take immediate steps to end all human rights violations and abuses, and engage with the UN’s human rights experts for that purpose. We also call on all Member States to join us in holding the DPRK government to account for its human rights violations and abuses.