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Human Rights Council - 24th Regular Session
Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the DPRK
17 September 2013
Australia welcomes this opportunity to put on record our strong support for the unanimous decision of the Council to establish the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with a mandate to “investigate and more fully document the grave, systematic and widespread violations of human rights” in the DPRK.
The Commission’s establishment sends a signal of hope to victims everywhere that allegations of gross violations of human rights will be investigated. No government should consider that it is free to act, with impunity, against its own people.
We also applaud the Commission’s approach to its investigations with impartiality, objectivity and without preconceptions. We understand the DPRK authorities have been perturbed by some of the evidence the Commission has received. We urge the DPRK authorities to admit the Commission to their country if they wish to counter the testimony the Commission has received regarding conditions of political prisoners, abductees, torture, starvation conditions and inter-generational punishment.
While we await the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, we should not neglect the invaluable work of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Mr Marzuki Darusman. We urge the DPRK to implement his recommendations, including those on the reunion of separated families; the repatriation of abducted South Korean and Japanese nationals; denial of due process; and the repeal of laws that allow for arbitrary decisions by authorities, including on the death penalty.
Australia remains deeply troubled by the human rights situation in the DPRK. The prevalence of hunger and malnutrition, the denial of other basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the appalling conditions in prison camps, are of particular concern to us.
Despite the many challenges of engaging with the DPRK on these issues, we remain firmly committed to pursuing improvements in the human rights situation in the DPRK, in multilateral bodies such as this and in our regular bilateral communications with the DPRK Government.