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 Full text 
Thursday, 24 May 2012 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Situation of North Korean refugees (debate)

  Joanna Senyszyn, on behalf of the S&D Group.(PL) Mr President, my group, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, has drafted a resolution which is very balanced, but which at the same time expresses our great concern for the citizens of North Korea and refugees from that country. Given the human rights violations committed by the North Korean authorities, we need to highlight the fact that torture, forced labour, the death penalty and public executions are unacceptable. We should call on the North Korean authorities to refrain from such practices, which constitute violations of human rights. At the same time, we should not tolerate the ill-treatment of refugees in places to which they flee.

It is absolutely vital to provide food and humanitarian aid to all citizens. The Commission should continue to support non-governmental organisations which help North Korea. At the same time, we should rigorously monitor the distribution of food and humanitarian aid in order to ensure that it takes place transparently and that it reaches those who need it most. Any sanctions imposed on the North Korean regime must not affect Korean citizens or refugees.

It is, of course, possible to query whether now is the best time to adopt such a resolution. It is worth remembering, however, that some people say that there is never a good time to fight for human rights, including the rights of refugees, while others say that it is always a good time to fight for them. Our view is that we should always fight for human rights, and always stand up in defence of those whose rights have been violated.

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