North Korea opens disarmament plenary
as UN Watch leads 28 groups in protest
North Korean ambassador So Sepyong (left) presiding yesterday over the Conference on Disarmament (CD), Geneva, August 4, 2011. Next to him is Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (right), Director-General of the UN’s European Headquarters who serves as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. More photos
Protest this week in front of UN Geneva headquarters, featuring UN Watch director Hillel Neuer and North Korean defector Kim Joo-il, August 2, 2011. Click here for YouTube video of the protest; here for photos.
North Korea yesterday began chairing the summer plenary of the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament, eliciting a boycott by the Canadian government and a sharp protest by 28 non-governmental organizations, led by UN Watch. Meanwhile, Burma, Iran, Nigeria and Norway offered varying degrees of congratulations to the North Korean chair. For more on yesterday’s session, click here. See reports below on UN Watch’s protest by Japanese TV, Associated Press, Reuters and Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
“This is a comedy—and it is a tragic comedy” —UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer interviewed by Japanese TV station TBS, Aug. 4, 2011.
28 non-governmental organizations mounted strong protests, charging North Korea with gross human rights violations as well as saying it lacked credibility. UN Watch, one of the NGOs, said the government in Pyongyang was a ‘ruthless regime that menaces its neighbors and starves its own people, and should not be granted the propaganda coup of heading a world body dedicated to peace.’ The NGOs signed a petition calling for North Korea to step down. They said the Pyongyang regime has threatened other countries with nuclear strikes and has allegedly exported nuclear technology to Iran, Syria and Myanmar. —Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Aug. 4, 2011. more…
Twenty-eight human rights groups led by the Geneva-based nongovernmental organization U.N. Watch urged North Korea on Tuesday to hand over its presidency of the Conference on Disarmament to “a more suitable country.” In a joint statement, the groups “strongly protest North Korea’s presidency,” saying its regime has “no credibility on disarmament” and called on all conference member states to protest against Pyongyang’s presidency, as Canada has already done. “As one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, North Korea should not be granted the symbolic legitimacy of chairing a world body dedicated to peace,” the statement said. — Kyodo News Service, Japan’s largest news agency, Aug. 2, 2011. more…
Advocacy group U.N. Watch’s director Hillel Neuer told reporters Tuesday in Geneva that allowing an “international outlaw” to oversee international arms control efforts is just plain wrong. —Associated Press, Aug. 2, 2011. more…
“Allowing an international outlaw to oversee international arms control efforts is just plain wrong,” Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based group U.N. Watch said in a statement. “North Korea is a ruthless regime that menaces its neighbours and starves its own people and should not be granted the propaganda coup of heading a world body dedicated to peace.” —Reuters, Aug. 4, 2011