Hon Michael Kirby's UN appointment

Media release

8 May 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed the appointment of the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG as chair of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), announced in Geneva.

Senator Carr congratulated Mr Kirby and expressed hope the inquiry will provide definitive information on the nature of human rights abuses in North Korea.

"The Honourable Michael Kirby's strong legal credentials and previous experience in the UN system make him an ideal candidate for the position," Senator Carr said.

"Australia is deeply concerned by the human rights situation in the DPRK and I'm pleased that Australia co-sponsored and supported the UN resolution which established the Commission of Inquiry.

"It is time the North Korean government acted to address human rights and there should be no doubt about Australia's ongoing support of mechanisms to ensure action is taken."

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) was established by a resolution of the UN HRC on 21 March 2013.

The COI's mandate is to investigate human rights violations in the DPRK, including the right to food, violations associated with prison camps, torture and inhuman treatment, arbitrary detention, violations of the right to life, freedom of movement and enforced disappearances, discrimination and violations of freedom of expression.

The COI will operate for a period of one year and is expected to be operational by June.

In addition to the Hon Michael Kirby as Chair, the other members of the COI are Marzuki Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK and former Indonesian Attorney-General, and Serbian human rights campaigner Sonja Biserko.

Media enquiries