Questions Raised In Parliament about China’s Repatriation of North Korean Refugees; about North Korea’s human rights violations; about hunger in North Korea; and reports that 11 million people, including 140,000 children in North Korea remain undernourished and that 30,000 of those people “face an increased risk of death”.


Questions Raised In Parliament about China’s Repatriation of North Korean Refugees; about North Korea’s human rights violations; about hunger in North Korea; and reports that 11 million people, including 140,000 children in North Korea remain undernourished and that 30,000 of those people “face an increased risk of death”.

 

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL485):

Question by lord Alton of Liverpool :
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of remarks made to the human rights committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 22 October that in the past six months he has received information from family members living in South Korea (1) that an increasing number of North Korean escapees are being detained in China, and (2) that those that are returned to North Korea are likely to be tortured or subjected to other human rights violations; when they last raised this with the government of China; what response they received; and what actions they have taken at United Nations fora to highlight these issues. (HL485)

Tabled on: 29 October 2019

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

​We are extremely concerned about the repatriation of North Koreans by Chinese authorities and the conditions they may face on return to North Korea. When we hear of individuals facing repatriation, we seek to raise their cases directly with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with our international partners. We did so most recently in May 2019. We will continue to monitor closely and will again emphasise to China that people fleeing North Korea should be treated as legitimate asylum claimants and should not be returned, as stipulated by the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

The British Government regularly raises its concerns over the human rights situation in North Korea in multilateral fora including the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council. At a briefing with the UN Special Rapporteur on 22 October, we discussed what more could be done to ensure legitimate North Korean asylum claimants are not forcibly repatriated when crossing international borders. We will continue to work with the Special Rapporteur and the international community to address these concerns.

Date and time of answer: 04 Nov 2019 at 17:21.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL431):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool :
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of remarks made by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea on 22 October that (1) North Korea is placing severe and widespread restrictions on basic freedoms, including surveillance and close monitoring of civilians, and (2) many citizens permanently disappear to a kwanliso political prison camp with families never informed of the decisions or of the whereabouts of their relatives; whether the UK Ambassador to North Korea has raised those allegations with the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea; and if so, what response they received. (HL431)

Tabled on: 28 October 2019

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We have grave concerns about the human rights situation in North Korea. As the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea made clear on 22 October, citizens in North Korea are subject to arrest and imprisonment in horrifying conditions for attempts to exercise even basic, universally accepted, human rights, such as freedom of expression and belief. Our Ambassador in Pyongyang regularly raises human rights concerns with the DPRK authorities, including reports of severe restrictions on freedoms and conditions in prison camps. North Korea routinely challenges the evidence base for such allegations.

We also raise our human rights concerns in international fora. At the UN General Assembly in October, we called on the North Korean Government to show the world that freedoms supposedly enshrined in its constitution are not a mirage, and at North Korea’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May, we called on the authorities to end all surveillance and censorship of individuals and organisations. We have also urged North Korea to permit access for the Special Rapporteur and other UN human rights bodies. North Korea continues to reject allegations of human rights violations, and took note of our UPR recommendations but with no commitment to action.


 

 

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL430):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool :
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of remarks made by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea on 22 October that (1) North Korea “is violating its human rights obligations due to its failing economic and agricultural policies”, and (2) discrimination leads to many people being deprived of rations in that country; and what estimate they have made of the amount of money that North Korea spends on agriculture and food production compared with its military programmes and nuclear capability. (HL430)

Tabled on: 28 October 2019

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

​The remarks made by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea are deeply troubling. Limited availability of official data from the North Korean government makes comprehensive analysis of their expenditure on agriculture and its weapons programmes difficult. However, outside observers estimate that the DPRK spends a disproportionately large amount of its GDP on its military and illegal weapons programmes. It is abundantly clear that years of failed economic policies by the DPRK government are to blame for the current humanitarian situation. We have made clear on many occasions our concern at the DPRK government’s appalling human rights record and its failure to allocate its resources to the needs of its people. We urge the North Korean government to put its people’s needs before the development of illegal weapons programmes.

Date and time of answer: 04 Nov 2019 at 13:30.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL429):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of remarks made to the human rights committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 24 October that 11 million people, including 140,000 children in North Korea remain undernourished and that 30,000 of those people “face an increased risk of death”. (HL429)

Tabled on: 28 October 2019

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

​We are deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in North Korea and reports that 11 million people remain undernourished. We are monitoring the food security situation accordingly. The UK contributes to the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF), along with other bilateral donors. In October, CERF allocated $6 million to North Korea in response to damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Lingling. This allocation was made in order to provide urgent food security and nutrition interventions, and support increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the most affected provinces.

We urge the DPRK to put the needs of its people over its illegal WMD programmes, and provide aid agencies with adequate data and access in order to support the most vulnerable.

Date and time of answer: 04 Nov 2019 at 13:29.