Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK, Elizabeth Samon

Ambassador Thomas Armbruster
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 23, 2023


Thank you, Special Rapporteur Salmón, for your new report.

Ten years after the creation of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK, the situation remains dire.

The DPRK is one of the world’s most repressive states, imposing severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, religion or belief, and movement. There are credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government; forced disappearances; torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, including in political prison camps; forced abortion and sterilization; and the worst forms of child labor.

The DPRK’s denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms allows its leaders to expend inordinate public resources developing its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

We are pleased the Human Rights Council agreed in April to keep the DPRK human rights situation high on its agenda; and in August, the Security Council hosted the first open briefing on human rights in the DPRK since 2017. We must continue to ensure that the DPRK remains on the UN agenda unless and until the situation improves. Inaction is unacceptable.

The DPRK must acknowledge that human rights violations and abuses are occurring within its borders and take immediate steps to address them. The DPRK must grant international humanitarian organizations and human rights monitors immediate and unhindered access.

Madam Special Rapporteur, what more can the international community do to pressure the DPRK to choose its people over its weapons programs and allow humanitarian assistance,

consistent with international monitoring standards, into the country now that the borders are open?

I thank you.