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North Korea

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 7th July 2014.

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Photo of Jim Dobbin Jim Dobbin Labour, Heywood and Middleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will bring the conclusions relating to the genocidal extermination of Christianity in the report commissioned by Human Liberty entitled crimes against humanity published in May 2014 to the attention of the UN Security Council, the North Korean Government and HM Embassy in Pyongyang.

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

We are aware of the report produced by Hogan Lovells on behalf of Human Liberty. However, we note that the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) were unable to establish the crime of genocide on religious grounds, because the available evidence in this respect was ambiguous.

However, the COI did find that systematic and widespread human rights violations were taking place, and did find reasonable grounds to establish that crimes against humanity had been committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The findings of the COI formed the basis of the core text of the subsequent UN Human Rights Council resolution on the DPRK, adopted in March 2014, which the UK cosponsored.

In April, the same month, the UK took part in a public 'Arria-formula' briefing with other Security Council member states to consider DPRK human rights. In May, the UK raised DPRK human rights concerns during closed consultations between the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Security Council. In June, I visited Geneva, where I took part in an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Mr Mazuki Darusman. I raised the importance of DPRK human rights with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and stressed the importance of UN action. The next step will be to ensure there is an appropriate focus on DPRK human rights at this autumn's UN General Assembly (UNGA) session and that there is a strong DPRK resolution, strongly supported, in the UNGA Third Committee.

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