World should help North Korean overseas workers

UN Watch Statement
Human Rights Council, 28th Session
ID with SR on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
16 March 2015

Delivered by Ms. Dasun Kim

Thank you Mr. President.
I am honored to make this statement on behalf of UN Watch.
My name is Dasun Kim and I am manager of International Affairs at NK Watch, an organization established by the survivors of North Korean political prison camps.
Sitting here next to me is Mr. Ahn, a former concentration camp guard who has been a key witness at the CoI, whose report we fully endorse. Recently in this Chamber, the North Korean Foreign Minister attacked the credibility of this report as well as that of the defectors. The CoI report was based on the testimonies of numerous North Korean defectors, and is not affected in any significant way by one witness’s change in secondary details of his account.
Mr. Rapporteur,
We welcome your report and your strategy to address the issue of missing persons. We have interviewed many North Korean families whose members have involuntarily disappeared or been arbitrarily detained. Their submissions are before the Working Groups on Disappearances and on Arbitrary Detention. The North Korean authorities should be held accountable for these ongoing violations, which are devoid of any legal process.
We wish to raise the issue of the North Korean overseas workers, which has so far escaped international attention. Numerous North Korean workers are dispatched abroad, watched and controlled by the DPRK authorities twenty-four seven, overworked every day without any holiday or rest, and do not receive any medical treatment or compensation. North Korean authorities are exploiting their salaries and using that money for their own means.
The condition of these workers is much like slavery, unfortunately with the complicity of many other governments which host these workers. My organization has interviewed such workers and submitted their testimonies to the Special Rapporteur on Slavery.
Mr. Rapporteur, we ask you to please examine the case of the North Korean overseas workers and hold to account not only North Korea but also the governments that cooperate with them.
Thank you.
Answer by Mr. Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Finally, may I express also appreciation for the intervention of the NGOs who have flagged the known issue of so-called North Korean overseas workers, enforced workers, and the fact that [we] need to further coordinate with the thematic working groups within the United Nations.


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