AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) applauded today’s first-ever UN Security Council consideration of severe human rights violations in North Korea.
The meeting followed last week’s UN General Assembly adoption of a resolution, supported by 116 Member States, backing the recently released independent human rights Commission of Inquiry report, which concluded that the gravity, scale and nature of North Korea’s human rights violations are “without parallel in the contemporary world.” Several Security Council members proposed referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court, but the Council did not take any formal action at this session.
“Security Council recognition that North Korea’s hidden gulag and other heinous human rights crimes threaten regional stability is a significant breakthrough in addressing the regime’s threat to global security,” said Felice Gaer, director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute.
Today’s Security Council meeting also came at a time of rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S. With its nuclear arsenal, support for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and sophisticated cyberattack network, which was recently on full display, North Korea is one of the most dangerous regimes on earth.
On North Korea’s despicable human rights record, the Commission of Inquiry found that up to 120,000 men, women and children are held incommunicado in a political prison camp system, subjected to starvation, forced labor, executions, torture, rape, and infanticide. The UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea has never been permitted to visit the country. The Commission called on North Korea to provide immediate access to camps and to ultimately shut them. Several Security Council members echoed this recommendation in their remarks.
JBI has long called on UN Member States and agencies to devote greater attention to North Korea’s appalling human rights record and to press the regime to curb its widespread violations. In recent weeks JBI worked in close collaboration with other human rights groups, including the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), to advance the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry report at the UN General Assembly and Security Council.