Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 28 February 2012
Continues Urgent Debate on the Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Syria
The Human Rights Council this afternoon continued with its High-level Segment, hearing statements from 17 dignitaries who spoke about the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Syria, the legacy of the Arab spring, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure, and national efforts to promote and protect human rights, among other issues. It also briefly continued its urgent debate on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria.
Speaking were Iveta Radièová, Prime Minister of Slovakia; Abderrahim Al-Keib, Prime Minister of Libya; Karl Erjavec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia; Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon; Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal; Maharafa Traore, Minister of Justice of Mali; Nasser Judeh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan; Mustafa Ramid, Minister of Justice of Morocco; Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia; Utoni Nujoma, Minister for Foreign Affairs on Namibia; Kristina Schröder, Minister for Family, Elder People, Women and Youth of Germany; Mourad Medelci, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria; Fatima Al Balooshi, Minister of Human Rights and Social Development of Bahrain; José-Manuel García-Margallo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain; Ryuji Yamane, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Gry Larsen, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway; and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General, Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
During the discussions, speakers said that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child was a hallmark event as it provided a communication procedure for violence against children, including sexual violence, and involvement of children in armed conflict, for example. The situation in Syria was alarming and required urgent attention; many speakers called on Syrian authorities to immediately cease attacks against civilians and there were calls for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity that might have been committed. A number of speakers strongly supported the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur for Syria.
The events of 2011, in which human rights went viral, had proved that human beings were willing to sacrifice their lives to obtain their rights. The Council and the United Nations should exert their utmost in fighting impunity, promoting democracy and the rule of law. The Arab spring would not be settled without a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East; the Arab spring should also apply to Palestinians and the international community should impart new energy in negotiating with all parties in order to find a sustainable and equitable solution. A speaker stressed the importance of the Human Rights Council as a forum for multilateral cooperation and its role in the consolidation of international standards on human rights. There was an urgent need to develop a strong culture of prevention, a culture that nurtured through international norms and national processes.
At the end of the meeting, the Council briefly continued its urgent debate on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, which it started earlier in the day, hearing statements from 10 speakers who, among other things, urged the Syrian Government to seriously consider cooperating with the Council as a gesture of good will. Speakers denounced and condemned the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime which amounted to crimes against humanity and supported all possible means to improve humanitarian access in Syria. Bashar al-Assad was systematically murdering civilians and had no moral authority to govern. It was now time for the international community to stop standing on the sidelines, take firm action and consolidate efforts for saving lives.
Speaking in the urgent debate were Brazil, Germany, Nicaragua, Holy See, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Slovenia, and Tunisia.
Speaking in right of reply were the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan.
When the Council resumes its work at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 29 February, it will continue with its High-Level Segment. The Council is scheduled to conclude its urgent debate on Syria starting 9 a.m. on Thursday, 1 March.
IVETA RADICOVA, Prime Minister of Slovakia, said that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child was a hallmark event as it provided for a communication procedure for the only international instrument that was without it. Violence against children, including sexual violence, and involvement of children in armed conflict were some of examples where the help and assistance of the international community was needed. Slovakia was encouraged by already 20 countries signing this Optional Protocol. Turning to the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, the Prime Minister said that the Human Rights Council should play an important and indispensable role in assisting the oppressed. Peaceful protests turned often into bloodshed by regimes that wanted to keep their positions at all costs. The world should speak in one voice and speak against this violence and ignorance. The situation in Syria was alarming and required urgent attention and Slovakia hoped that the crimes perpetrated in Syria would not go unpunished. The events of 2011 had proved that human rights were truly universal and shared by humankind, and the Council and the United Nations should exert their utmost in fighting impunity, and promoting democracy and the rule of law.
ABDERRAHIM AL-KEIB, Prime Minister of Libya, said that last year the people of Libya had started peaceful protests for the rights enshrined in the holy scripture and in the human rights instruments, and were killed and shelled mercilessly and cruelly. The worst forms of torture had been committed against the men and women of Libya and the Council had not stood idle but had held the special session only 10 days after the atrocities had started. The process of liberation had not been simple and had had a heavy cost; the oppressive regime had decided that the peaceful protests would turn into an armed conflict and the dictator and his sons had threatened the Libyan people with extermination. After 42 years of governing the country, the ousted regime had left chaos in state institutions and structures; scores of qualified and experienced personnel were missing, while schools, hospitals and administrative buildings were destroyed. Many of those who had been involved with the regime had fled with the money they stole and were now working on sabotaging the country. The Prime Minister reasserted the commitment of Libya to human rights and the rule of law and apprised the Council of the progress made at the national level and with regard to its international commitments, which included empowerment of women, reconciliation and return of internally displaced persons and constitutional reform.
KARL ERJAVEC, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, said that the popular uprisings of last year had shown that human beings were willing to sacrifice their lives to obtain their rights. Slovenia was deeply concerned about the violence in Syria and called on the Syrian authorities to immediately cease attacks against civilians and for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity that might have been committed. Human rights, security and development were inseparably linked. The situations of concern in Sudan and South Sudan should not be forgotten and Slovenia called on all parties to lay down their weapons. Mr. Erjavec welcomed the new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure, which to date had been signed by 20 countries including Slovenia, and urged other countries to ratify and sign the Optional Protocol. Mr. Erjavec underlined the important role of Special Procedures in respecting human rights and said that Slovenia supported the continuation of the work of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and the extension of the Council’s mandates on the situation of human rights in Iran, Myanmar and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Mr. Erjavec stressed the importance of the Human Rights Council as a forum for multilateral cooperation and its role in the consolidation of international standards on human rights.
PIERRE MOUKOKO MBONJO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, said that the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration of the Right to Development had increased awareness and mobilized significant support in favour of the right to development. The Government had engaged in a number of public works projects on road construction, clearing mines and the improvement of access to portable water and electricity for the rural population. Cameroon was one of the first 15 States of the African Union to ratify the African Charter for Democracy and Governance. In 2009 Cameroon was reviewed in the Universal Period Review and had accepted 41 recommendations to be implemented by the next review in 2013. The independence of Elections Cameroon, the body in charge of conducting elections in the country, had been enhanced. The Government had strengthened cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and with Special Procedures through invitations sent to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. The Government, with support from the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, had held a briefing session for technical and financial partners, which summarized 14 projects in the areas of capacity building and awareness-raising. Cameroon called for greater participation in the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance to support countries in implementing accepted recommendations in the Universal Periodic Review.
PAULO SACADURA CABRAL PORTAS, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal, said in 2011 human rights went viral. There were developments all over the world. Portugal called on Arab countries to spare no effort in protecting human rights and urged them to enshrine the highest human rights standards in new legal and institutional frameworks. Massive human rights violations were occurring in Syria, which amounted to crimes against humanity. Portugal strongly supported the Commission of Inquiry and the creation of a Special Rapporteur for Syria. Portugal was also worried about the dire human rights situation in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and would co-sponsor draft resolutions on the situation in these two countries. Portugal encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission report. Portugal was on the frontline of the negotiation of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and would be presenting Portugal’s traditional resolution on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights to the Council. Portugal believed that its action in the human rights field justified membership in the body and had decided to present its candidature for the period of 2015 to 2017.
MAHARAFA TRAORE, Minister of Justice of Mali, said that despite all the efforts by the Government to promote economic and social development, recurrent armed rebellion still affected Mali. Several agreements with the rebel movements had been signed and various development programmes had been underway, such as the creation of the Special Investment Fund for the North of Mali and others. Further, in 2006, the President had proposed the organization of the Conference on Peace and Security to combat insecurity and promote peace in the region. Mali had also been the victim of attacks by the terrorists and non-State armed groups. The grave human rights violations committed by those groups required action from all concerned. It was difficult for Mali to understand that individuals engaged in criminal acts against their country, and Mali called on the international community to condemn the so-called World Liberation Movement.
NASSER JUDEH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, said the continuous denial of basic human rights to citizens in some Arab States had led to the swelling of frustrations and eventually led to the revolutions witnessed in some Arab countries. Jordan’s continuous efforts to implement political reforms and incrementally improve its human rights record had allowed the Government to implement key reforms. The more than 100 protests, marches or sit-ins had only reaffirmed and enhanced the peaceful character of the Jordanian political discourse. The Minister further said that the Arab spring would not be settled without a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and that the Arab spring would not overshadow the continued denial of the rights and aspirations of self-determination of the Palestinian people. The Arab spring should also apply to Palestinians and the Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories could not continue. The continued violence in Syria represented an area of great concern to Jordan. Jordan supported all efforts to bring an end to the ongoing bloodshed in Syria through a political process. The instability had led to an increasing number of Syrian nationals escaping to Jordan as a result of the hard conditions back home; despite its own economic difficulties, Jordan would not shy away from its responsibilities.
MUSTAFA RAMID, Minister of Justice of Morocco, informed the Human Rights Council of the progress made with the adhesion of Morocco to a number of human rights international instruments, such as the signing of the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child this morning. Transitional justice was an exceptional mechanism to discover the truth of the past and was used in Morocco to prepare recommendations aimed at the constitutional reform. This new Constitution included several mechanisms to protect rights and freedoms, such as the National Council for Human Rights, or a mediator – a specialized national institution in charge of maintaining supremacy and primacy of the law. Recent elections in Morocco had led to the new Government whose priority was the promotion and protection of human rights for all citizens, in particular gender equality, good governance, fight against corruption, harmonization of national legislation with international norms and boosting public awareness of human rights. Turning to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Morocco appealed to the international community to impart new energy in negotiating with all parties in order to find a sustainable, equitable and global solution. In closing, Morocco announced its candidacy for membership in the Council for 2014 to 2016.
MARTY NATALEGAWA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said that Indonesia had gone through the process of embracing democracy by overhauling its system of governance to advance rights and fundamental freedoms. As a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Indonesia had taken concerted steps to mainstream human rights principles and values in the region. The Association of South East Asian Nations would make a Human Rights Declaration in 2012 and Indonesia had initiated the annual Bali Democracy Forum to promote homegrown democracy in the Asia Pacific region. Indonesia stood ready to support Myanmar in the important steps it had taken toward democracy. Mr. Natalegawa said a key challenge facing the international community was how to make progress in human rights irreversible. The Human Rights Council should approach specific human rights situations with a holistic, long-term outlook. Indonesia welcomed the Council’s efforts to take action and address human rights and humanitarian crises and stressed that the Council should give high priority to technical assistance and advisory services to Member States to help them build their capacities. There was an urgent need to develop a strong culture of prevention, a culture that nurtured through international norms and national processes. Indonesia had ratified seven out of nine international human rights instruments.
UTONI NUJOMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, said that Namibia attached great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. The Government had made the fight against poverty and underdevelopment a priority in its national development programmes. Namibia had a strong track record in addressing gender equality and there had been visible improvement in women’s representation in politics, government and the private sector. Namibia was reviewed by the Universal Periodic Review mechanism in 2011 and had accepted over 75 per cent of the recommendations. Namibia had received the Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation in 2011 and looked forward to the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples who had requested a visit. It was a matter of concern that the implementation of the right to development still lagged behind as over 1.4 billion people throughout the world still lived below the poverty level of less than $ 1.25 a day. Namibia urged all Member States to put human rights at the core of the development agenda. There should be an immediate and unconditional lifting of the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba and a total lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. The international community should fully respect Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
KRISTINA SCHROEDER, Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth of Germany, said Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had shaken off decade-spanning un-democratic and deeply corrupt systems. The European Union had reacted swiftly and reshaped its own neighbourhood policy according to the principle of more assistance for more democratic progress. Germany had offered, bilaterally, partnerships with Arab countries in transition. The way in which Egypt dealt with non-governmental organizations and independent civil society organizations was a litmus test for the country’s commitment to democratization. Germany was appalled by the Syrian regime’s brutal massive oppression and denounced the horrendous violations of human rights. Unhindered access for international humanitarian organizations had to be granted. If necessary, the perpetrators of these atrocities should be held accountable before the International Criminal Court. It was with great pleasure that Germany signed today the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it called on all other States to sign it as well.
MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, noted that the Council had been able to take just positions, for the most part, on a wide number of issues. Thus, the Algerian Government had decided to mobilize $500,000 to support the Council’s work. Algeria expressed satisfaction with the regime changes in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and had pursued brotherly cooperation with the newly emerging governments. Concerning the grave situation in Syria, Algeria participated in the elaboration and promotion of the Arab League initiative. Algeria hoped the mobilization of the international community would result in the fulfillment of the Syrian people’s hopes and aspirations. Algeria was completing internal reforms which would lead to the adoption of a new constitution and the guarantee of fundamental freedoms and human rights. The elections of 10 May would contribute to the development of this democratic process and the reduction of disparities. With respect to the Universal Periodic Review, Algeria was pleased to announce that most of the recommendations accepted had been put in place.
FATIMA BINT MOHAMED AL-BALOOSHI, Minister of Human Rights and Social Development of Bahrain, said that political dialogue had been a fundamental part of the Government’s initial response to the events of last year. The Government had initiated a process of national dialogue drawing on all segments of society. Politically, the process had resulted in constitutional changes that drastically increased the powers of the elected parliament. Last year, Bahrain’s law enforcement authorities had been faced with unprecedented circumstances without the preparedness, training and human resources to meet the challenge. Serious wrongs had been committed including the excessive use of force, wrongful death and unlawful detention. An independent Commission had been established to investigate all violations of human rights and the Government had accepted fully and unconditionally the 26 wide ranging recommendations in the Commission’s report. The Government had transferred all cases that were previously before the National Safety Court to the ordinary criminal justice system and had dropped all charges related to free speech activity. An independent standing body had been established to investigate allegations of torture, ill-treatment, and excessive use of force. Bahrain was determined to compensate victims of the unrest and a new Code of Conduct and training would apply to the police. The Kingdom had extended an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit Bahrain early next month and the Government was in the process of preparing its Universal Periodic Review.
GONZALO DE BENITO SECADES, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Spain, said Spain had supported the efforts carried out by the Arab League and deplored the excessive use of violence by the Syrian authorities against civilians and the lack of cooperation with the Commission of Inquiry. Concerning Tunisia and Egypt, Spain looked forward to the establishment of democratic political systems and said that civil society organizations should be able to carry out their role in Egypt according to international democratic standards. Spain was in the process of drawing up a new national human rights strategy that stressed that every individual regardless of age, minority, gender or disability had the right to the full enjoyment of his or her human rights. Spain defended the strict protection of any religious belief and hoped that the convention on the freedom of religion or belief would be adopted with unanimity. In 2013 Madrid would be hosting the World Conference against the Death Penalty and it had worked hard to eliminate the death penalty. Spain would present the work of the Blue Group whose aim was to further the cause of access to potable water and invited all Member States to join this initiative. Spain noted that especially vulnerable groups, particularly women and girl children with disabilities, required active protection. Spain urged the Council to do more to acknowledge the rights of victims of terrorism. The Government would continue to provide all necessary support for strengthening the treaty body system.
RYUJI YAMANE, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said that over the years the international community had made efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights and stressed the importance of economic reforms in this regard. In Syria, an un-democratic and inhumane situation persisted and Japan said that the Human Rights Council needed to respond and apply whatever diplomatic effort in cooperation with the international community. Japan had decided to approve $ 3 million for humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria. In Myanmar, it was important to hold free and just elections in April and allow all candidates to run freely. Japan would continue supporting reform efforts in this country and considered the support from the international community and the Human Rights Council in this effect extremely important. Japan was concerned about the widespread human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, where political prison camps still existed, and about further delay by this country to address abduction issues. Japan and the European Union would present a resolution during this session of the Council and hoped that it would have broad support among the members. The Universal Periodic Review was a meaningful mechanism of the Council and Japan was paying close attention to the second cycle of the review and stood ready to do everything possible to make this mechanism effective.
GRY LARSEN, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, said that the international community must identify a broad and inclusive approach for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis and that the League of Arab States’ plan for Syria was the best way forward. Ms. Larsen further said that accountability for the past violations must be the norm and not the exception, and added that in the long term, only countries that respected fundamental human rights and democratic rules could contribute to a stable international order. The developments in the Arab region had outlined the role that the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights could play and had brought to light the need for international cooperation on human rights. There was thus the urgent need to strengthen the third pillar of the United Nations, namely human rights, which, together with democracy and the rule of law should be in focus throughout the United Nations system. Ms. Larsen also spoke about the empowerment of women and their participation in democracy, minorities and the need to strengthen their rights and protection, violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and abolition of the death penalty.
EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation had established an independent permanent Human Rights Commission, symbolizing that the Organization was propelled by a vision of moderation and modernization. The situation in Palestine and other occupied territories constituted a permanent agenda item and was a continuing threat to human rights. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation had been actively involved in exploiting all available options to bring an end to the violence in Syria through dialogue and negotiations without any external interference. The promotion and protection of human rights of the Kashmiri people continued to form part of the Organization’s agenda, including the human rights situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. Combating Islamaphobia as well as the vilification of all religions and denigration of symbols and personalities sacred to all religions was a matter of priority. The introduction of controversial notions like sexual orientation and gender identity at the Council was of deep concern. Focus on special groups had been questioned in terms of the universality of human rights.
Continuation of Urgent Debate on the Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Syria
Brazil said Brazil was deeply troubled by the situation in Syria and would contribute to a negotiated peaceful resolution of the crisis. Brazil fully supported the Commission of Inquiry and welcomed the designation of Kofi Annan as a Special Envoy. The Syrian Government should seriously consider cooperating with the Council as a gesture of good will. A solution to the conflict required a nationally-owned process. Constructive engagement with the Syrian opposition would be essential. A consensus platform should be pursued.
Germany said the greater need for the better protection of the human rights of children was emphasized by the situation in Syria. More than 500 children had been killed. Others had been arbitrarily arrested and even tortured. Germany denounced and condemned the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime which amounted to crimes against humanity. Germany supported all possible means to improve humanitarian access in Syria and welcomed the decisions of the Tunis meetings.
Nicaragua said the loss of life stemming from the crisis in Syria was appalling. Nicaragua sought the prompt resolution of the crisis. For there to be true reconciliation, there had to be dialogue and a negotiated resolution. There was a trend in the Council to use procedures as sanctions; this was not the intention of the design of these measures. The most powerful countries were providing weapons and promoting anarchy to bring down governments that had fallen out of favour.
Holy See said that Syria had a long history of peaceful coexistence among her diverse religious and ethnic communities and appealed to the Syrian people not to lose sight of this heritage in responding to the legitimate aspirations of the different members of the nation. The Holy See recognized the importance of various initiatives for peace and appealed to the Syrian people to give priority to the way of dialogue, reconciliation and the commitment to peace.
Israel said that the killings in Syria continued and asked where this Council’s response to cries for international assistance and protection was. Bashar al-Assad was systematically murdering civilians and had no moral authority to govern. It was now time for the international community to stop standing on the sidelines, take firm action and consolidate efforts for saving lives.
Canada said that the ruthless assault of the regime on the Syrian people had created a humanitarian crisis in this country, adding that Assad’s forces must be held accountable for the violations committed. The Human Rights Council must demand an immediate end to the violations and renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry. Canada announced a further $ 1.5 million to help alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and said that Syria must allow full, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need.
New Zealand said New Zealand had repeatedly joined States in unequivocally condemning human rights violations in Syria. The Syrian authorities, rather than perpetrating abuses against people, had the responsibility to protect citizens from these abuses. Syria had to live up to its international commitments. New Zealand continued to urge the Syrian authorities to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.
Netherlands said the violence and killing in Syria had to stop. Assad had to step down, which should pave the way to an inclusive political transition process. The Netherlands called on the opposition to unite. It should present a clear road map for political transition. The Netherlands was committed to continue its assistance to the Syrian opposition. The Netherlands had provided the World Food Programme with 1 million Euros for Syria.
Slovenia said Syria had to grant unimpeded access to the staff of humanitarian relief organizations. Slovenia deplored the lack of agreement in the United Nations Security Council on Syria and supported initiatives to send the issue back to the Security Council. Slovenia called on the authorities to provide access to the Commission of Inquiry on Syria. Slovenia proposed the launch of an investigation into crimes against humanity that could have occurred in Syria. Slovenia called for President Assad to step down. The Human Rights Council should send a clear message in support of the opposition.
Tunisia fully supported today’s urgent debate in the face of the critical humanitarian situation in Syria. The debate directly followed the Tunis Conference convened by the Friends of Syria, which welcomed international efforts to stop the violence and human rights violations in Syria. Tunisia supported the revolutionary aspirations of the Syrian population, and also the draft resolution which had been submitted to the Council, and which it hoped would be adopted by consensus.
Right of Reply
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, said that the accusations of Japan were part of the hostile policy against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which originated in the political motives to cover up its crimes against humanity committed against Korean people in the past. As for calls by Slovenia and Portugal for the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, those comments were another evidence of countries that joined forces against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Japan, speaking in a right of reply, said that the abduction issue had not been resolved and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Japan had agreed in August 2011 on the comprehensive resolution to the issue. On forensic tests, Japan said that the results were obtained based on rigorous procedures by Japan’s leading forensic institution and were not fabricated. Japan was committed to pursuing its relationship with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in accordance with the Pyong Yang resolution of September 2002.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, speaking in a second right of reply, strongly rejected accusations by Japan on the abduction issue and said that Japan had no moral authority to talk about this issue as it had failed to act on more than 8 million abducted persons from the past. Japan should seriously take its responsibility, issue an apology and provide compensation to 200,000 victims of its crimes in the past.
Japan, speaking in a second right of reply, said it was regrettable that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had not responded to the urgent requests by the international community. Japan hoped that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would respond to these concerns in a concrete matter and take constructive steps forward. Japan extended a sincere apology for those who suffered physical and emotional wounds as a result of armed conflict.
For use of the information media; not an official record