North Korea

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 11th June 2014.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Labour, Birkenhead

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote human rights in North Korea.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The UK is deeply concerned by reports of widespread and systematic state sanctioned human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as I made clear in my written ministerial statement following the publication of the UN commission of inquiry report into these violations. I have called publicly on the DPRK to take immediate steps to close political prison camps, to act on the commission’s recommendations and to give full and unimpeded access to the Office of the United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant parts of the UN. I also made clear the UK’s commitment to ensuring the commission’s findings were a beginning and not an end.

Reflecting this commitment, the UK played an active role in ensuring a strong DPRK resolution at the March UN Human Rights Council. I lobbied personally on this issue during my visit to Geneva at the beginning of the Council. Since the resolution was passed we have continued to engage, supporting an informal briefing of the UN Security Council and pressing the DPRK during its recent universal periodic review to respond to the commission of inquiry’s findings. In May, I met US Special Envoy on DPRK Human Rights, Robert King, to discuss next steps, and during a visit to Geneva next week I will have further discussions with Ambassador King and others.

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