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Procedure : 2014/2696(RSP)
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PV 17/04/2014 - 13.3
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CRE 17/04/2014 - 14.3

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Thursday, 17 April 2014 - Strasbourg
Situation in North Korea

European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2014 on the situation in North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) (2014/2696(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to all of which the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a party,

–  having regard to the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 14 March 2013 on nuclear threats and human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(1), of 24 May 2012 on the situation of North Korean refugees(2) and of 8 July 2010 on North Korea(3),

–  having regard to the statements by the spokesperson for the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, of 19 August 2013 on the recent inter‑Korean agreements and of 5 June 2013 concerning the expulsion of nine North Koreans from Laos, and to the statement by Catherine Ashton of 13 March 2013 on nuclear threats and human rights in North Korea,

–  having regard to the declaration by the DPRK of 13 March 2013 that it had ended the 1953 armistice and ‘is not restrained by the North-South declaration on non-aggression’,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council resolutions of 26 March 2014 and 21 March 2013 and the UN General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2013 on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,

–  having regard to the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which was established on 21 March 2013 by the UN Human Rights Council,

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

A.  whereas the UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigated ‘the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights’ in North Korea and released a report on 7 February 2014;

B.  whereas the professional, thorough and inclusive working methods applied by the CoI can serve as an example for the work of future fact-finding missions requested by the UN Human Rights Council where governments refuse all cooperation, as has been the case with the DPRK;

C.  whereas the DPRK, upon the establishment of the CoI, stated that it would ‘totally reject and disregard it’, refused it permission to visit the country and failed to cooperate in any way; whereas the DPRK regime has not cooperated in general with the UN and has rejected all UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions regarding human rights in North Korea; whereas it has failed to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country and has rejected all assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;

D.  whereas the EU‑DPRK human rights dialogue was suspended by the DPRK in 2003;

E.  whereas the CoI has come to the conclusion that ‘systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the DPRK, and in many instances, the violations found constitute crimes against humanity based on State policies’ and do not have ‘any parallel in the contemporary world’;

F.  whereas these crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation; whereas these crimes against humanity are ongoing in the DPRK because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity remain in place;

G.  whereas the CoI’s report concludes that ‘the unspeakable atrocities’ that have been committed against the hundreds of thousands of past and present inmates of the prison camps ‘resemble the horrors of camps that totalitarian States established during the twentieth century’;

H.  whereas the report demonstrates that in the DPRK the state claims absolute control over every aspect of its citizens’ lives, and an absolute monopoly over information, movement inside and outside the country and over social life (the Songbun class system);

I.  whereas the government has even been extending its repressive acts beyond the state’s borders, with the systematic abduction of, and denial of repatriation to, well over 200 000 people from other countries, many of whom have subsequently suffered enforced disappearance;

J.  whereas discrimination and violence against women is widespread, including public beatings and sexual assault on women by public officials; whereas women and girls are vulnerable to trafficking and forced sex work;

1.  Notes with extreme concern the findings of the UN CoI and supports its recommendations;

2.  Reiterates its strong condemnation of the decade-long state repression exercised in a systematic manner by the present and past Supreme Leaders of the DPRK and the administration, and calls on the DPRK to put an immediate end to the grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations perpetrated against its own people;

3.  Underlines the fact that the violations described, many of which constitute crimes against humanity, have been taking place for far too long under the observing eyes of the international community, and appeals to the EU Member States and all members of the UN General Assembly to move the suffering of the North Korean population to the forefront of the political agenda and to ensure that the CoI’s recommendations are followed up;

4.  Is convinced that the time has come for the international community to take concrete action to end the perpetrators’ impunity; demands that those most responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the DPRK be held accountable, brought before the International Criminal Court and subjected to targeted sanctions;

5.  Asks the European External Action Service (EEAS) to ensure that the implementation of the CoI’s recommendations be a standing item on the agenda for human rights dialogues and other meetings with third countries, in particular the dialogues with Russia and China; asks the EEAS and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, furthermore, to ensure that all EEAS ambassadors are briefed about the CoI’s report and understand that they are tasked with ensuring worldwide support for UN Security Council action as recommended by the CoI;

6.  Calls on the Government of the DPRK to fulfil its obligations under the human rights instruments to which it is a party, and to cooperate fully with humanitarian organisations, independent human rights monitors and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, inter alia by providing access to the country;

7.  Calls on the EEAS and the Member States to support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in establishing special structures to ensure accountability for the crimes committed, through the continued collection of evidence and documentation;

8.  Calls on the DPRK immediately and permanently to stop public and secret executions and to abolish the death penalty; calls, furthermore, on the DPRK to put an end to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and collective punishment, to close all prison camps, to release political prisoners and to allow its citizens to travel freely, both within and outside the country; calls on the DPRK to allow free expression and press freedom for national and international media, and uncensored access to the internet for its citizens;

9.  Urges the Government of the DPRK to hand over all information on third-country nationals suspected to have been abducted by North Korean state agents during the past decades, and to return those abductees still being held to their home countries immediately;

10.  Expresses its particular concern at the continuing severity of the food situation in the country and its impact on the economic, social and cultural rights of the population; calls on the Commission to maintain existing humanitarian aid programmes and channels of communication with the DPRK, and to secure the safe delivery of such aid to the target population groups; calls on the DPRK authorities to ensure access for all citizens to food and humanitarian assistance on the basis of need, in accordance with humanitarian principles; calls, furthermore, on the DPRK to invest its resources in improving the appalling living conditions of its people instead of in the further build‑up of its military arsenal and nuclear programme;

11.  Calls on all UN members, and in particular the People’s Republic of China, to come to the aid of North Korean citizens who manage to escape from the country, by granting them the right to stay, together with legal protection and basic services equivalent to those afforded to their own citizens, and – imperatively – to refrain from cooperating in any way with the DPRK administration in the extradition or repatriation of North Korean citizens;

12.  Welcomes any humanitarian project between the two Koreas – such as reunions of separated South and North Korean families – that can concretely ease the suffering of the population, and calls on both governments to increase the number of initiatives of this type;

13.  Calls on the UN, as proposed by the CoI, to convene a high-level political conference between the parties to the Korean War with the aim of concluding a final peaceful settlement of the war and establishing a procedure for intensifying cooperation, along similar lines to the Helsinki process, for example;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of the DPRK, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Council, the members of the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, including the Special Rapporteur, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Korea, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the Government and Parliament of Japan and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0096.
(2) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 94.
(3) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 132.

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