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North Korea

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL729, tabled on 23 June 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will take "merciless" steps against the planned opening of a United Nations office in Seoul to monitor human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Answered on

6 July 2015

The UK strongly welcomes the opening of the UN Human Rights Field Office in Seoul. As the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), has commented, this is an important step in improving monitoring of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Our Embassy in Seoul attended the UN Office’s opening ceremony on 23 June and confirmed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights the UK’s readiness to support the work of the UN Office.

The 29 May on-line statement by the DPRK’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland is clearly regrettable and misguided. Such statements will do nothing to convince the international community that the DPRK is serious about addressing its human rights failings. The international community has legitimate concerns over the human rights situation in the DPRK and it is right that the UN Office has been established so we can continue to document the scope and details of accusations; maintain a spotlight on the situation; and work together to identify how human rights can be improved in the DPRK.