Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
on the draft resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK
Sixty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
21 November 2011
The promotion and protection of all human rights are a legitimate concern of the international community. For its part, Japan believes that human rights issues should generally be addressed through constructive dialogue and cooperation. However, the international community, including the United Nations, has consistently expressed grave concern over the human rights situation in the DPRK. We think it necessary to strongly urge it to improve the situation through the adoption of this draft resolution.
The Universal Periodic Review is a valuable opportunity for each country to review and improve its own human rights situations. Every member state is required to join this process and respect the recommendations. The DPRK joined the UPR in December 2009; however, to date it has not accepted any of 167 recommendations that were made. In addition, the DPRK refuses any dialogue and cooperation with the special procedures mandated by the Human Rights Council, which mutually complement the UPR. We are gravely disappointed by the fact that the DPRK has refused to cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms.
The abduction issue remains outstanding. Out of the 17 Japanese citizens identified by the Government of Japan as having been abducted by the DPRK, twelve have not yet returned to their motherland. In addition, there are still other cases in which the possibility of abduction by the DPRK cannot be ruled out. In August 2008, the DPRK agreed to the overall objectives of the investigation into the abduction issue. However, in September that year, the DPRK suddenly informed us of the suspension of the investigation and has not taken any concrete action since. Japan urges the DPRK to establish an investigation committee and commence a comprehensive investigation on the abduction issue in accordance with the agreement in 2008 without any further delay. As the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Noda, stated in his address to the Sixty-sixth Session of the UN General Assembly, “the abduction issue represents a violation of basic human rights. Thus, this is a universal issue and a matter of great concern for the entire international community.”
The discussion for the improvement of human rights situations in each member state has been taking place at the Human Rights Council. The UPR is a very effective tool for reviewing the human rights situations in each state, yet the DPRK has not taken any action in response to the results of the UPR. We therefore are concerned that the UPR is not working effectively enough with regard to the situation in the DPRK. In the event that systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights, including abductions, take place in a country and there are no signs of remedial action being taken, we think it is important not only for the Human Rights Council to send a message expressing its concern but also for the whole international community to do so through the General Assembly, inasmuch as the Assembly represents 193 Member States. We believe that taking such action can help bring about an improvement in the human rights situation of the country concerned.
It is for these reasons that Japan has brought this resolution to the General Assembly.
Japan therefore urges all of the distinguished delegates here today to support the draft resolution. We believe that its adoption will contribute to realizing a solution to the situation of human rights in the DPRK in general and to the abduction issue in particular. And we call on the DPRK to receive the message in good faith and to respond to the concerns expressed by the international community.
I thank all of the distinguished delegates for their understanding and support to this resolution.
I thank you, Mr.Chairman.