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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 whether the Government supports recommendation 1224 of the UN Human Rights Council's Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), published in February 2014; and whether his Department has taken steps to support the work of human rights non-governmental organisations in their attempts to broadcast accessible information into the DPRK and to improve the human rights situation in that country.

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

The UK does not currently provide financial support to any of the organisations making cross-border broadcasts into the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK). Through our embassy in Pyongyang however, the UK is one of the few countries who are able to engage directly with North Koreans, complementing the efforts of others, like the US, who support broadcasts into North Korea. The recent report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights in North Korea recognised the importance of both approaches.

The UK continues to play an active role in raising human rights violations in the DPRK in other meaningful ways. For example, we pressed for a strong DPRK resolution at the March UN Human Rights Council, including a call for the UN General Assembly to submit the report of the Commission of Inquiry to the UN Security Council for its consideration and appropriate action. In April, we and other Security Council members took part in a public "Arria" briefing by the Commission and in May, we raised the need for a continued focus on human rights during a UN Security Council Sanctions Committee. Recently, 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 session and that there is a strong DPRK resolution, strongly supported, in the UNGA Third Committee.

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