Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Human Rights Council 16th Session

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Statement by Australia
14 March 2011

Australia continues to strongly support the important mandate of the Special Rapporteur and congratulates him on the completion of his first report in office on the current human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Australia remains deeply concerned about the appalling state of human rights in the DPRK and will continue to raise this issue directly with the DPRK authorities. Australia strongly supports the recommendation in paragraph 67 of the Special Rapporteur’s report.

We note the Special Rapporteur’s recent visits to the Republic of Korea and Japan to ascertain views on alleged human rights violations in the DPRK. We are disappointed, however, that the DPRK did not approve the Special Rapporteur’s request of October last year to visit the country.

We note with regret the failure of the Government of the DPRK to articulate a response to the recommendations it received in its Universal Periodic Review. A crucial feature of the UPR is a clear response from the state under review, in writing, indicating which recommendations are accepted or rejected. We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s initiative to use some of DPRK’s UPR recommendations to inform his work.

We would be interested to hear the Special Rapporteur’s views on how individual countries and the international community more broadly can better coordinate their efforts to improve human rights in the DPRK.

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s identification of some provisions in the legal instruments of the DPRK that need to be aligned with international human rights obligations. We strongly urge the DPRK to follow the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations relating to the abolition of the death penalty and public executions. Can the Special Rapporteur suggest any further examples of legal reforms that would bring the DPRK more in line with its international obligations?

Australia also supports the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations at paragraph 70 of the report specifically relating to food scarcity issues. We would welcome a further assessment from the Special Rapporteur about the current impact of reported food shortages on the welfare of DPRK citizens.