Statement by H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Third Committee Session
On the draft resolution “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”
19 November 2013
Since this is my first time to address to the Third Committee as the new Permanent Representative of Japan, let me congratulate you on your assumption to the chairmanship of this distinguished Committee.
I will assure you my delegation’s full cooperation.
I now wish to address on the draft resolution entitled “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” contained in L.56.
First, I would like to refer to the statement just made by distinguished Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania* on behalf of EU Member States, and join her in requesting support for this draft resolution.
The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to be a very serious concern for the international community.
In January, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pilay, issued a statement in which she urged the international community to pay more attention to the human rights abuses in the DPRK.
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Marzuki Darusman, expressed the view in his report to the Human Rights Council that the human rights violations identified therein “may amount to crimes against humanity”.
Against this background, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in March establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in the DPRK, which Japan strongly welcomes and supports.
The COI under the leadership of His Honour Judge Michael Kirby commenced its work in July this year, including visits to Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, London, New York and Washington DC.
Judge Kirby made an oral update here at the Third Committee in October.
However, the DPRK has refused to cooperate or to engage with the COI at any level.
The DPRK also refuses to cooperate with the other human rights mechanisms of the UN, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur.
The abductions issue remains a deeply distressing concern for our country as well as the international community.
Out of the seventeen Japanese citizens identified by the Government of Japan as victims of abduction by the DPRK, twelve have not yet been returned to their homeland.
In addition, there are still other cases in which the possibility of abduction by the DPRK cannot be ruled out.
Against this troubling backdrop, Japan believes that it is critically important to send a message to the DPRK repeating the grave concern of the international community.
It is for these reasons that Japan, together with the European Union, was obliged to bring this resolution to the General Assembly.
Japan urges all the distinguished delegates gathered here today to support this draft resolution.
We believe that its adoption will contribute to realizing a solution to the situation of human rights in the DPRK.
We furthermore call on the DPRK to heed the message from the United Nations in good faith and to respond to the concerns expressed by the international community.