13 May 2014

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission today released a report calling on the British Government to lead a campaign to bring North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The report, Unspeakable and Unparalleled: North Korea’s Crimes Against Humanity, draws on evidence provided to the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission in three public hearings chaired by Fiona Bruce MP, and addresses the human rights violations perpetrated by the regime in North Korea, the refugee crisis, steps to break the regime’s “information blockade”, and ending impunity. It follows the UN Commission of Inquiry report, published in February, and the Human Rights Council’s resolution on North Korea in March.

Released ahead of a debate in Westminster Hall this afternoon on human rights in North Korea tabled by Andrew Selous MP, the report contains 13 recommendations, including that the BBC World Service should “establish a radio broadcast to the Korean Peninsula” and the United Kingdom should “increase pressure on China to end its policies of forcible repatriation” of North Korean refugees. The United Kingdom should, according to the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, “ensure that in every discussion on North Korea at the UN, at every level, human rights concerns are placed on the agenda alongside security concerns”.

Witnesses who gave evidence to the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s inquiry include Lord Alton of Liverpool, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea and author of a new book on the country, Building Bridges: Is there Hope for North Korea?; experts from Amnesty International, the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (EAHRNK) and survivors of North Korea’s gulag.

Fiona Bruce MP, who chaired the inquiry, said: “North Korea is the world’s most closed nation, with the world’s worst human rights record. UN experts have compared it to the Holocaust and described it as sui generis – in a category of its own. It is also one of the world’s most neglected human rights tragedies. It is time for people of all political persuasions to stand up and speak out for North Korea. We welcome the steps the United Kingdom has taken, but there is even more we can do, and this report sets out the case for prioritising North Korea as a human rights crisis that requires our attention. Momentum is building, and we hope this report will further awaken the consciences of policy-makers and the public alike, in Britain and around the world. It is time to act.”