Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, on the Draft Resolution on the “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, at the Third Committee of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 74: Promotion and protection of human rights


Mr. Chair,
 
We will soon mark the fifth year since the Commission of Inquiry published its report, describing the human rights situation in the DPRK as one that “does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
 
Despite repeated calls from the international community for the improvement of the situation, Special Rapporteur Quintana recently reported to this Committee that there have been no substantial changes in the human rights situation in the DPRK. This year’s report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the DPRK also highlighted a continuing pattern of serious human rights violations.
 
Under such circumstances, Japan, together with the European Union, tabled the draft resolution, “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” to this Committee. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the hard work of the EU delegation in bringing us this far, as well as for the strong support of the co-sponsors.
 
We strongly hope that the resolution will be adopted with a wide and strong support from the international community.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
Japan welcomes the ongoing diplomatic efforts to fulfil the commitments made in the historic US-DPRK Summit in June as well as the three Inter-Korean Summits this year as a step towards the comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern.
 
Co-sponsors have added in this year’s text a reference that the resolution reiterates the importance of maintaining high on the international agenda the grave human rights situation in the DPRK.
In this regard, we are delighted that OHCHR reinforced its capacity with a dedicated team tasked with conducting monitoring and documentation activities. The draft resolution welcomes these steps taken to strengthen the capacity of OHCHR and continues to encourage OHCHR to expedite the process of strengthening its capacity to conduct its mandate.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
The abduction of Japanese citizens by the DPRK is one of the gravest violations of human rights. Most abductees have not yet returned to their home. The victims and their families are aging. Some of them passed away, unable to see their loved ones ever again.
 
Considering the long years of enormous sadness and sufferings experienced by the abductees and their families, I would like to emphasize the urgency of this issue, and call for the immediate return of all the victims of abduction. There is no time to waste in resolving the issue. Japan is ready to overcome mutual distrust with the DPRK and directly engage with the DPRK towards the immediate resolution of outstanding issues.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
The adoption of the resolution will demonstrate the international community’s grave concerns about the human rights situation in the DPRK, including the abductions issue. Japan continues to strongly urge the DPRK to sincerely accept the views of the international community expressed in this resolution and take concrete action towards cooperation with the international community, and the early resolution of the abductions issue.
 
Thank you.