Today the United Nations Security Council took an historic step in recognising that mass human rights violations by the State of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) constitute a threat to international peace and security and are a matter for continuing Council attention and action.

Australia, supported by nine other Council members, successfully made the case that the Council had a responsibility to formally consider the serious human rights situation in the DPRK, including the findings of the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry chaired by Australia’s Justice The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. That report found the ‘gravity, scale and nature of the human rights violations committed by the North Korean State distinguishes it as one that has no parallel in the contemporary world’. It found that many of those violations amount to crimes against humanity.

In a formal meeting of the Council, members were briefed by UN officials on the situation in the DPRK and on continuing efforts to engage the Pyongyang regime on its appalling human rights record. Australia stated that it is essential that the Security Council regularly assess the situation in the DPRK, and give serious attention to further action it might take.

Today's Council session sends a vital message to the people of the DPRK that the international community will continue to press for fundamental change and accountability for the crimes being committed against the North Korean people.

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