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Date : March 16, 2013
ICNK Delegation Visited Geneva
From the 11th to the 14th, an ICNK delegation visited Geneva, where the UN Human Rights Council is being held. They took in Marzuki Darusman’s presentation of his annual report, and met with officials of the OHCHR including the Special Rapporteur, Marzuki Darusman, and Kang Kyung-wha, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. The delegation also protested in front of the North Korean mission to the UN.
The Special Rapporteur said that, “A mechanism of inquiry is required to go beyond the capability of one single Special Rapporteur, and to go beyond monitoring and reporting, but also investing with a view towards establishing of accountability both institutionally but also individually. If that can be achieved, there is a hope that situation in North Korea could be rectified.”
He also said in a meeting with South Korean NGOs on the 12th that the mechanism of inquiry would address individual accountability for human rights abuses, and Kim Jong Eun would be included.
On the afternoon of the 12th, the ICNK delegation visited the North Korean mission with a delegation from Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea and 4 supporters of Korean War Abductees’ Family Union. These 12 activists from South Korean NGOs picketed the mission. They held signs with the following slogans: “Accept investigation of UN COI,” “Dismantle Political Prison Camps,” “Stop tortures and inhumane treatment,” “Send Abductees Back Immediately,” and “Come Back Home!.”
During the protest, the North Korean delegation tried to enter their building by car. However, they turned back when they saw the protest. Due to this, Ha Tae Keung, an assemblyman from the Saenuri Party, said, “A thing that the North Korean authorities are afraid of is our human rights activities and exposure of the North Korean human rights’ situation. The North Korean delegation’s turning back shows this well.”
On the 13th, an NGO side event was held jointly by Human Rights Watch, Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, and ICNK. The event was held under the title, “The Call for a UN Commission of Inquiry on Crimes against Humanity in North Korea,” and about 150 officials from the Human Rights Council and activists from international NGOs attended.
Shin Dong Hyuk, a survivor of Camp 14, emphasized that, “Many innocent children are born and dying in North Korean prison camps even at this very moment. Only you, who are here today, can save them. Saving them after they die doesn’t have any meaning.”
Robert King, the US Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, and Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, attended this event and listened to testimonies on the extreme situation found in North Korean political prison camps.
There is a high possibility that a resolution, which contains clauses for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry on the North Korean human rights situation, will be adopted by consensus or vote on the 22nd. The Special Rapporteur, Marzuki Darusman, ICNK members and other human rights activists expect that the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry will be a big turning point in the history of the 13 years old North Korean human rights movement.

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