Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council – 25th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with Commission of Inquiry on the DPRK
Australian statement

17 March 2014


Australia welcomes the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We commend the COI, particularly its Chair Justice Michael Kirby, for its hard work and dedication.

The report provides a detailed legal and factual analysis of the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the DPRK. It serves as a reminder to all governments that allegations of human rights violations will be investigated and perpetrators exposed.

We applaud the Commission’s approach to its investigations. It has worked impartially, transparently and with due consideration for the protection of victims and witnesses. We also applaud the Commission’s repeated attempts to engage with the DPRK Government and to obtain access to the country. We regret that the DRPK authorities did not respond to those requests.

Australia is deeply concerned by the Commission’s findings, including gross violations involving arbitrary detention, torture and executions, restrictions on the freedoms of expression and residence, and discrimination based on gender and social class. Findings of widespread starvation and malnutrition, appalling conditions in prison camps and abductions of foreign nationals are of particular concern to us.

We urge the DPRK to implement the recommendations of the Commission, including those on denial of due process, reform of the prison system, abolition of the death penalty, repatriation of abductees and ending discrimination, and to cooperate with the United Nations and the international community in addressing the human rights situation in the DPRK.

We urge other States to implement the Commission’s recommendations, particularly to respect the principle of non-refoulement and abstain from forcibly repatriating any persons from the DPRK, and to provide the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with access to persons from the DPRK.

We also believe that the report deserves the United Nations Security Council's consideration.

Despite the many challenges of engaging with the DPRK Government on these issues, Australia remains firmly committed to pursuing drastic improvements in the human rights situation in the DPRK, through the multilateral system and in our bilateral engagement with the DPRK and other States.