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North Korea: Human Rights

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in North Korea; and if he will make a statement. (310428)

North Korea has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Although North Korea denies access to human rights organisations, including the UN, information from a variety of sources, much of it from North Korean defectors, paints a picture of serious and widespread abuse, namely:

political prison camps and labour rehabilitation camps;

regular use of the death penalty (including extra-judicial and public executions);

routine use of torture and inhumane treatment;

severe restrictions of freedom of speech, movement, assembly, and information.

We raised these issues most recently in December 2009 at the UN Universal Periodic Review of the human rights situation in North Korea (in Geneva). We pressed North Korea to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea access to their country to make a full assessment of the human rights situation. The EU has also offered to restart a bilateral dialogue on human rights but North Korea refuses to do so until the EU stops proposing resolutions against North Korea.