UN Watch Statement
Human Rights Council, 27thSession
UPR: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
19 September 2014
Delivered byJin Lee
Thank you, Mr. President.
UN Watch continues to be alarmed by the catastrophic situation of human rights in North Korea, as documented in the report that is before us today.
Sadly, North Korea rejects many of the report’s most basic recommendations, concerning political prison camps, disappearances, guilt by association, and mass starvation. As found by the Commission of Inquiry, responsibility for these gross and systematic violations—these shocking crimes— reaches the highest levels of political leadership.
Mr. President, UN Watch condemns North Korea’s contempt for basic human rights, including the right to life. But condemnation is not enough. It is time for action. The international community must show that it truly cares for the suffering people of North Korea with deeds—not words.
That is why, as a Swiss NGO, we begin today by asking our own country, Switzerland, to show moral leadership. To its credit, Switzerland sponsored the UN resolution that created the inquiry, and the resolution, 25/25, that endorsed the commission’s report, and which specifically called for “effective targeted sanctions against those who appear to be most responsible for crimes against humanity.”
To that end, we now invite Switzerland to match its words with deeds. In a letter sent today to the President of the Swiss Confederation 20 survivors of North Korean atrocities call for the immediate freezing of all Swiss bank accounts held by the North Korean leadership.
The survivors cite the findings of the commission of inquiry, the UN resolutions sponsored by Switzerland itself, international law, as well as Swiss law and precedent, all of which support the legal and moral case for this vital remedy.
Mr. President, if Switzerland will rise to the occasion and show leadership, others in the international community will follow. Let us all join together and act now for the millions of desperate victims of North Korea.