Official speeches and statements - December 12, 2017
1. United Nations - Event on the North Korea human rights situation - Terrifying experiences of forcibly repatriated North Korean women - Speech by France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (New York - December 11, 2017)
Many thanks to the United States and the other co-hosts for organizing and hosting this very important side-event with us. I think the very deeply moving testimonies that we just heard speak for themselves. That’s why I will be very brief.
I would like first of all to thank all the panelists for their enlightening presentations, which have provided us with a clearer understanding of the truly horrifying fate of those who dare to leave North Korea. We, as the Security Council, have the moral and political responsibility to draw attention to this terrible situation. Because these crimes can simply not be ignored, and the North Korean regime must held accountable.
I’d like to extend my warmest thanks and admiration to Ms Hyeon-A Ji. Your testimony is invaluable, both heartbreaking and very inspiring. Since the DPRK and the atrocities that take place there are obscured by censorship and totalitarianism, it is all the more important for us all to give the voices of those who have escaped—to give your voice—the widest audience possible. This is also our responsibility. And the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in DPRK does not have any access to the country, so you are our only insight into this regime of fear. That’s why it is so crucial to pay close attention to your story and, even more importantly, to take appropriate action.
I’ll also say a special word of gratitude to David Hawk and Justice Kirby. Thank you Justice Kirby for underlining the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry, which again speak for themselves. There is nothing to add. The acts of cruelty, to say the least, that you recalled, resonate in our conscience and will resonate forever. We must not forget. We must seek justice.
Therefore the question I have, and that I guess many of my colleagues here also have in mind: given what you have seen and experienced of the terrible realities, what do you believe the Security Council could do, must do, to change the situation? In the same vein, what is the best way for the Secretary-General’s special rapporteurs to gather the desperately needed information on the situation in order to try and put an end to the human rights violations? I think what David just said about ICRC is important and we must work on that, but are there other things, that we, as the Security Council, could do and must do? Again my warmest thanks to each and every one of you.
(The Permanent Representative spoke in English.)