(As delivered)

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

Statement at the Security Council Meeting on the
“Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”

9 December 2016



Mr. President,


          I thank the Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson for his forceful remarks. I am also grateful to the briefing by Mr. Andrew Gilmour, Assistant-Secretary General of the OHCHR.


          The report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in the DPRK of February 2014 shed light on the critical human rights situation on the ground. Regrettably, there has been no sign that the situation has improved since the report was released. Under such circumstances, today, the Security Council has rightly decided to have a briefing under the agenda “Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” for the third consecutive year.


Mr. President,


          The DPRK conducted two nuclear tests and launched more than 20 ballistic missiles this year despite the fact that three-quarters of its population are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and that the total humanitarian funding requirement of the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations reaches 145 million US Dollars.


          Even as the people in the DPRK suffer from great unmet needs, the DPRK authorities pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at the sacrifices of the fundamental human rights and welfare of their own people. Japan, as well as every other Security Council member, condemns this state of affairs. The DPRK authorities should respect and ensure the welfare and inherent dignity of their citizens.


          This message was conveyed in Security Council Resolution 2321, which the Council adopted unanimously last week. The same concern was also expressed in the General Assembly resolution on the Situation of human rights in the DPRK (A/C.3/71/L.23), which was adopted by consensus in the Third Committee of the General Assembly last month.


          As the High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out in his briefing last year and confirmed by the briefers today, there is a clear linkage between human rights violations in the DPRK and the instability in the region. Addressing root causes of threats to international peace and security falls undoubtedly within the mandate of the Security Council.


Mr. President,


          The abduction of foreign nationals by the DPRK is a case where human rights violations and threats to international peace and security clearly overlap. As the COI report states, “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has engaged in the systematic abduction, denial of repatriation and subsequent enforced disappearance of persons from other countries on a large scale and as a matter of State policy”. Hundreds of nationals from the Republic of Korea, Japan and other countries have been abducted and disappeared.


          Abductions committed by the DPRK undermine the sovereignty of the countries concerned and cast fear over the lives and safety of their citizens. At the same time, this issue is a grave human rights violation as the abductees’ invaluable future has been stolen and the bonds with their families have been severed. Even now, at this very moment, in the harsh situation of the DPRK, many abductees are being deprived of freedom and waiting for rescue. As the abductees and their families grow older, this issue can afford no further delay.


Mr. President,


          Regrettably, there is no indication that the DPRK authorities have moved to improve the human rights situation on the ground. Therefore, efforts by the international community to ensure accountability are needed. In March next year, the Human Rights Council will receive a report by the group of independent experts on accountability for human rights violations in the DPRK, as set out by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 31/18. Also, I would like to recall that the General Assembly resolution (70/172) encourages the Security Council to take appropriate action to ensure accountability.


          On the other hand, I would like to stress that such efforts do not aim to isolate the DPRK from the international community. I trust that the UN human rights mechanisms always have their doors open to the DPRK for dialogue. We sincerely hope that, at the end of the day, the DPRK alters its course toward the improvement of human rights and invests its limited resource in the improvement of the welfare and fundamental human rights of its citizens, instead of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles development. We also hope that the DPRK comes back to the table of credible dialogue with the international community to resolve various concerns. Such a shift, we believe, will lead to greater stability in the region.


I thank you, Mr. President.



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