EU should take action on human rights in North Korea

Chairwoman of Subcommittee on Human Rights, Ms Hautala, addressed the screening of the film “Kimjongilia” at the One World 2010 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Brussels, on 14th of April.[:] Kimjongilia, “The Flower of Kim Jong Il”, is the first film that exposes the full and shocking scale of the human tragedy in North Korea via the stories of the escapes and lives of the defectors’.


The International Film Festival is based in Prague in Czech Republic but includes selection of films to be presented abroad.


Ms Hautala recalled in her speech that the human rights situation in North Korea is one of the gravest in the world. The list of human tragedies and violations against human rights is incomprehensibly long, whereas the most serious of those must be famine, arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, the political prisons and labour camps, torture and lack of civil and political rights and worst of all there is pervasive impunity for all of these violations, she noted. What makes remedying the situation extremely difficult, she added, is that there is no functioning judiciary or civil society, organised political opposition or free media.


The 7th of April the Subcommittee on Human Rights discussed the human rights situation in North Korea. This was the first time the European Parliament discussed the issue in depth. Chairwoman Hautala noted at the hearing that the testimonies heard confirm that the human rights situation in DPRK should be of much greater concern to the international community and that in this vein the European Parliament should look into tabling resolution on the matter.


In April 2009 the parliament of DPRK has revised the country’s constitution and included then there, among others, the respect for human rights. Ms Hautala strongly called the authorities to respect this voluntary commitment while noting that no improvement in the human rights record of the country has so far been recorded. Rather the opposite, she pointed out that in September 2009 report to the UN General Assembly, Vitit Muntabhorn, UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, criticized North Korea for its “abysmal” human rights record.


In essence, the DPRK is a closed prison camp, Ms Hautala concluded. She stressed that we have a duty to try to learn more of the situation and take action accordingly.