The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect welcomes the leadership shown by members of the UN Security Council in voting to put the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the Council’s formal agenda. The DPRK government bears the primary Responsibility to Protect (R2P) its population from crimes against humanity, but is manifestly failing to do so.
Today’s vote and the Security Council’s first briefing on the human rights situation in the DPRK mark a historic moment. Previous concerns over nuclear security issues have overshadowed the atrocities being perpetrated by the DPRK government against its own people. Today the Security Council has shown that the international community will no longer overlook these ongoing “crimes that shock the conscience of humanity,” as detailed in the February 2014 report of the Human Rights Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry.
The Commission’s report shed new light on the appalling situation in DPRK, where the government continues to commit crimes against humanity and other systematic human rights violations, including murder, enslavement, torture, rape, forced abortions, enforced disappearances and prolonged starvation.
The Council should ensure accountability for these grave violations by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation. It should also impose targeted sanctions against those deemed responsible, possibly including “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un. Ending impunity is essential to ending the suffering of the North Korean people.
“This represents a historic shift for the Security Council in terms of protecting North Koreans from their own government,” said Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. “I hope that the Security Council will ensure that international attention is maintained and that the situation in DPRK is not allowed to slip again behind a wall of denial, silence and inaction.”