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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 19th Session
Universal Periodic Review of the DPRK
Statement by Australia
1 May 2014
Australia welcomes the DPRK’s participation in this Universal Periodic Review as a step by it towards more positive engagement on human rights. Given the DPRK’s lack of substantive cooperation with the UN system and the international community over an extended period, there is much it needs to do to convince the international community it is serious about addressing its appalling human rights record.
We remain gravely troubled by reports of gross, systematic and widespread human rights violations in the DPRK, particularly reports of large numbers of persons detained in prison camps in harsh conditions, and by the prevalence in those camps of abuses, including arbitrary executions, forced labour and torture.
Australia remains disappointed by the DPRK’s refusal to grant access to the Commission of Inquiry. Australia strongly supports the Commission’s call for accountability for those responsible for crimes against humanity in the DPRK.
Australia recommends the DPRK implement the Commission’s recommendations, including those on denial of due process, reform of the prison system, abolition of the death penalty and return of abductees to their homelands.
Australia recommends the DPRK work with the international community to align its criminal justice system with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international human rights instruments.
Restrictions on freedom of thought and expression, as well as ongoing institutionalised discrimination, are of particular concern to Australia.
Australia recommends the DRPK allow the establishment of independent newspapers and other media; allow its citizens to access the Internet and international media; and abolish compulsory indoctrination sessions.
Australia recommends the DPRK take immediate measures to end discrimination against its citizens for the alleged sins of their grandparents under the songbun system; ensure gender equality in practice; and address violence against women and girls.
Australia urges the DPRK to demonstrate a genuine willingness to improve its people’s lives by engaging more positively and openly with the international community, including by allowing the UN and other multilateral agencies full access to the country to carry out their humanitarian activities.