Joint motion for a resolution - RC-B7-0241/2012Joint motion for a resolution

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation of North Korean refugees

23.5.2012 - (2012/2655(RSP))

pursuant to Rule 122(5) and 110(4), of the Rules of Procedure
replacing the motions by the following groups:
EFD (B7‑0241/2012)
Verts/ALE (B7‑0260/2012)
ALDE (B7‑0261/2012)
PPE (B7‑0263/2012)
ECR (B7‑0264/2012)

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Herbert Reul, Frank Engel, Mario Mauro, Cristian Dan Preda, Filip Kaczmarek, Roberta Angelilli, Bernd Posselt, Monica Luisa Macovei, Elena Băsescu, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Sari Essayah, Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris, Giovanni La Via, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, Bogusław Sonik, Tunne Kelam, Tokia Saïfi on behalf of the PPE Group
Jelko Kacin, Fiona Hall, Marietje Schaake, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Kristiina Ojuland, Robert Rochefort, Edward McMillan-Scott, Louis Michel, Marielle de Sarnez, Leonidas Donskis, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Sonia Alfano, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica on behalf of the ALDE Group
Gerald Häfner, Rui Tavares, Raül Romeva i Rueda on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Charles Tannock, Paweł Robert Kowal on behalf of the ECR Group
Fiorello Provera on behalf of the EFD Group

Procedure : 2012/2655(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  

European Parliament resolution on the situation of North Korean refugees


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK), in particular the one adopted on 8 July 2010[1],

–   having regard to the EU-China summit of 14 February 2012 and the 29th EU‑China human rights dialogue held in Madrid on 29 June 2010, at which the issue of North Korean refugees was discussed,

–   having regard to the report on the DPRK presented at the 6th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council (30 November-11 December 2009),

–   having regard to the report presented on 21 February 2011 by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which he expresses concern at the fact that ‘the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has so far not shown any commitments to implement the recommendations and conclusions of the universal periodic review’,

–   having regard to Resolution A/HRC/19/L.29, adopted by consensus by the UN Human Rights Council on 19 March 2012, in which it expresses its very serious concern at the ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and to UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/174, adopted on 29 March 2012,

–   having regard to the May 2012 report by the South Korean National Human Rights Commission on human rights violations in North Korea, based on some 800 interviews with refugees, including several hundred defectors who survived the prison camps,

–   having regard to the 2010 DPRK Ministry of Public Security decree making defection a crime of ‘treachery against the nation’,

–   having regard to the December 2011 statement by the DPRK authorities in which they indicated their intention to ‘annihilate’ up to three generations of a family if a family member fled the country during the 100‑day period of mourning for the death of Kim Jong-il,

–   having regard to Rules 122(5) and 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the aforementioned UN Human Rights Council resolution deplores the grave, widespread and systematic human rights abuses in North Korea, in particular the use of torture and labour camps against political prisoners and repatriated citizens of the DPRK; whereas the state authorities systematically carry out and enable extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances;

B.  whereas large parts of the population are suffering from starvation, and whereas the World Food Programme reported in September 2009 that a third of North Korean women and children were malnourished;

C. whereas, as a direct result of the policies of the DPRK Government and despite the dangers, it is estimated that over the years up to 400 000 North Koreans have fled the country, many of whom are living in neighbouring China as ‘illegal migrants’;

D. whereas most refugees from the DPRK have no intention of staying in China, but have to pass through the country in order to make their way to South Korea or to other parts of the world;

E.  whereas, on the basis of its 1986 repatriation agreement with North Korea, China prevents North Korean citizens from accessing UNHCR asylum procedures, in violation of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto, to which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has acceded; whereas, according to NGO estimates, the PRC arrests and forcibly returns up to 5 000 North Korean refugees to the DPRK every year;

F.  whereas a large number of the North Korean refugees in China are women, many of whom are victims of human trafficking, sex slavery and forced marriage, and whereas children conceived through such violations are considered stateless in China and are abandoned or left to the same fate as their mothers;

G. whereas on 29 March 2012 Kim Young-hwan and three other activists from the Seoul-based Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights were arrested in the Chinese city of Dalian (Liaoning Province) and are facing allegations of being ‘a threat to China’s national security’, while reportedly trying to help North Korean defectors;

H. whereas, according to eye-witness reports, refugees who are forcibly returned to North Korea are systematically subjected to torture, imprisoned in concentration camps and may even be executed, pregnant women are allegedly forced to abort, and babies of Chinese fathers are at risk of being killed; whereas the state practice of guilt by association results in entire families being imprisoned, including children and grandparents;

I.   whereas satellite images and various accounts from North Korean defectors substantiate allegations that the DPRK operates at least six concentration camps and numerous ‘re‑education’ camps, possibly housing up to 200 000 prisoners, most of them political;

1.  Reiterates its call for the DPRK to put an immediate end to the ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations perpetrated against its own people, which are causing North Koreans to flee their country;

2.  Calls on the DPRK authorities to act upon the recommendations of the report of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the Human Rights Council, and as a first step to allow inspection of all types of detention facility by independent international experts;

3.  Urges the Member States to adopt a more systematic approach to organising European and international protection for North Koreans fleeing their country, and calls on the Commission to continue to support civil society organisations that help North Korean refugees;

4.  Finds it deeply regrettable that, in the case of Kim Young‑hwan and his fellow activists, the Chinese authorities have reportedly, for the first time, applied the charge of being a ‘threat to national security’, which can carry the death penalty; calls on the Chinese authorities to grant full consular access to the South Korean authorities, and legal representation to the four detained activists, and to release them swiftly;

5.  Calls on the PRC to honour its obligations under international law, in particular the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto, along with the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and to stop deporting North Korean citizens back to the DPRK, as returnees and their families are at great risk of abuse and even execution;

6.  Urges the PRC, therefore, to end the 1986 agreement with North Korea on the repatriation of refugees, and welcomes recent reports that China may intend a policy shift; recalls that North Korean citizens are considered to be full citizens of the Republic of Korea, and calls on the PRC to grant them safe passage to South Korea or other third countries;

7.  Appeals to the Chinese authorities to treat North Korean defectors as refugees ‘sur place’, to allow the UNHCR access in order to determine their status and assist their safe resettlement, to release all such defectors who are currently being detained, to decriminalise those who try to help refugees on humanitarian grounds, and to grant North Korean women married to Chinese citizens legal resident status;

8.  Also calls on China to stop cooperating with North Korean security agents in tracing North Korean refugees with the aim of arresting them; urges the PRC instead to allow NGOs and community service providers humanitarian access to North Korean refugees and asylum‑seekers in China, including for the provision of food, medical treatment, education and legal and other services;

9.  Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative and the Commission to raise the human rights situation in the DPRK and the issue of North Korean refugees in the PRC during all high-level EU‑China talks and as part of the EU‑China Dialogue on Human Rights;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Member States, the Council, the Commission, the Governments of the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of North Korea and the United Nations Secretary-General.