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APPG on North Korea Session with Justice Kirby

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

On Tuesday July 20th the APPG on North Korea launched its new report on human rights violations in North Korea since 2014. The report renews calls for action on the human rights abuses occurring in North Korea, and offers recommendations to the UK government.

The report builds on the work of previous reports on North Korea’s human rights situation, particularly the UN’s 2014 Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights. The report suggests that the situation of human rights in North Korea has not improved since the Commission of Inquiry, and that its recommendations have largely not been implemented. The report found evidence of North Korean officials being involved in crimes against humanity including murder, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, slavery, and persecution based on religion or belief.

The report also found that three groups face particularly harsh and violent treatment in North Korea: Christians, half-Chinese children and the ‘hostile’ group. Half-Chinese children are the children that are conceived by North Korean women who have crossed the border into China (many of whom are sexually abused). The North Korean government commits forced abortions and infanticide against this group. The ‘hostile’ group is a social class that the North Korean government has deemed disloyal, and they face huge discrimination. “Hostile” status is passed down for generations. The report found that there are reasons to believe that the treatment of these groups may reach the threshold of genocide.

Lord Alton of Liverpool, who is co-chair of the APPG on North Korea, said:

“Notwithstanding so many other global challenges and preoccupations, the international community must never forget the beleaguered and suffering people of North Korea. Using our freedoms and liberties we in the UK Parliament will never forget our duty to speak and act on their behalf. This timely Report should be widely read.”

The honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG (Chair of the UN’s 2014 Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea) spoke at the launch event, and in his foreword to the report said:

“The one strategy that DPRK has always pursued is that of the so-called “Hermit Kingdom”. This was the strategy DPRK adopted in relation to the COI itself and also to the UN Secretary General and Security Council. Transparency and international attention are the antidote to isolation and non-cooperation. That is why the initiative of the APPG, and its continuance, are so admirable and desirable.”

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