Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, London, New York, Paris, Brussels (ICNK and HRWF, 19.12.2011) – The death of Kim Jong Il on 17 December 2011 represents a unprecedented opportunity for North Korea’s new leaders, including Kim Jong-un, to turn a new page on the human rights situation in the country and put an end to widespread and systematic violations which have characterized the regime and brutalized the North Korean people for too long, said the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) today. The North Korean government must cease these violations, end impunity and ensure justice for countless victims.
The leaders of DPRK should immediately put an end to practices such as forced labor, forced abortion of returnees, torture or executions, close all kwan-li-so (political prisoners’ camps) and release all political prisoners and abductees, urged ICNK.
“North Korea remains a closed country and access is therefore urgently needed for independent and neutral human rights monitors, in particular the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in North Korea and international humanitarian organizations”, said Souhayr Belhassen, president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The Coalition will continue its campaign for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity that have characterized North Korea today and in the past.
“The death of Kim Jong-il opens up an opportunity which the international community should seize, to help free the North Korean people from decades of brutal oppression. While there may be a period of uncertainty and instability in the days ahead, the international community should ensure that the severe human rights and humanitarian crisis in North Korea is placed firmly on the agenda alongside security and political concerns,” said Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). “Action must be taken to bring an end to the regime’s crimes against humanity and the culture of impunity.”
The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) includes human rights campaigners from around the world, including Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe. Survivors of North Korean prison camps, and their groups such as Free NK Gulag, have added their support to the Coalition.