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North Korea: Human Rights

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 726, tabled on 2 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK is able to identify those responsible for human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; and what steps the Government is taking to impose sanctions on North Korean officials similar to the financial sanctions imposed by HM Treasury on people responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran and Ukraine.

Answered on

10 June 2015

Since the publication of the UN Commission of Inquiry report on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the UK has worked with the EU and our like-minded partners to ensure momentum is maintained on the human rights situation in the DPRK. This includes contributing to strong resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly as well as supporting discussion of DPRK human rights by the UN Security Council in December 2014. We continue to discuss with other governments how the international community can work together to improve human rights in the DPRK.

Existing UN and EU sanctions against the DPRK are based upon UN Security Council Resolutions prohibiting the further development of the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Any introduction of sanctions on human rights grounds would require the establishment of a new sanctions regime at UN or EU level. Identifying individuals or entities with the degree of legal certainty required for sanctions listing would be difficult. Existing sanctions against Iran and Russia (as a result of action in Ukraine) are both at the EU level. The UK does not impose unilateral sanctions.