(The below is a joint statement, delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, in her national capacity, on behalf of the United States, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.) 

I would like to deliver a statement in my national capacity on behalf of 52 Member States and the Delegation of the European Union.

Today, the Security Council met to discuss the link between the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses and international peace and security. This was the first open briefing on this issue since 2017.  

Earlier this year, 62 co-sponsors – double the year prior – signed a letter requesting the Security Council remain seized with the human rights situation in the DPRK.

Today, the Security Council lived up to that expectation. The DPRK government’s violations and abuses have been well-documented by credible accounts, including numerous UN experts – and have been condemned through many General Assembly resolutions adopted by consensus over the past years.

They include: arbitrary killings, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, the punishment of family members for offenses allegedly committed by an individual, and near-total state control of expression through censorship and repression.  

The DPRK government commits acts of cruelty and repression in its own territory – while also perpetrating similar acts in other countries, targeting both citizens of the DPRK and others. These include executions, assassinations, abductions – including from Japan and the Republic of Korea – intimidations and forced repatriation. Alone, these human rights violations and abuses demand the Council’s attention.

But they are also inextricably linked with the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancements in violation of Security Council resolutions. The DPRK government engages in domestic and overseas forced labor and labor exploitation to generate revenue for its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. And the DPRK’s repressive political climate allows the government to divert resources to weapons development – at the expense of the welfare of the people in the DPRK who suffer from severe economic hardship and malnutrition.

None of this is acceptable. And there continues to be a lack of accountability.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, and the 10th anniversary of the creation of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK. And while we have made great strides forward, we still have a long way to go when it comes to the situation in the DPRK.  

Last December, many of us stood before you and urged the Security Council to hold an open briefing in 2023 to discuss the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses. We are pleased to announce that our group of support has grown, and that we succeeded in our objective.

We now call on all Member States to join us in raising awareness of the links between the human rights situation in the DPRK and international peace and security – and to hold the DPRK government accountable for its actions and fully implement Security Council resolutions.