Determined Action on North Korean Human Rights Urged by High-level Global Gathering




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Jun 23, 2015
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Determined Action on North Korean Human Rights Urged by High-level Global Gathering

High level Fellows issue Salzburg Statement on North Korea Members of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea: Michael Kirby, Sonja Biserko and Marzuki Darusman

From June 2 to 6, 2015, the three members of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - Michael Kirby, Marzuki Darusman, and Sonja Biserko - came together at Salzburg Global Seminar's symposium on International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity: The Challenge of North Korea to consider responses to the COI report released in 2014

At the symposium, the commissioners met with 40 diplomats, legal experts, policy makers and human rights advocates from six continents to debate a broad range of actions, including renewing the call to the UN Security Council to consider referring North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to the International Criminal Court for suspected crimes against humanity. The symposium was held under the Chatham House Rule, protecting the identities of participants and not attributing particular views or comments to the individuals taking part.

Participants concluded the meeting by agreeing on A CALL TO ACTION - Salzburg Statement on the Human Rights Situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Among the priorities cited were:

  • Securing the DPRK's compliance with its international obligations, including the Responsibility to Protect accepted by all UN Member States in 2005 and the provision of access to UN special mandate holders and other UN personnel;
  • Facilitating international transit of North Koreans seeking to leave the DPRK and avoiding their repatriation to the DPRK;
  • Disseminating the COI Report globally by expanding access in various languages, new formats, and media, including reader-friendly translations;
  • Increasing dissemination of information within the DPRK, including by accessible radio broadcasts;
  • Exploring the availability and use of court systems in various jurisdictions around the world, including those affording universal jurisdiction, with a view to securing the accountability of any persons or institutions in the DPRK found liable under international law.

The full Salzburg Statement and priority actions are available here:

About this symposium: 

The symposium on International Responses to Crimes against Humanity: The Challenge of North Korea continues Salzburg Global Seminar's commitment to Justice issues, including international law, human rights and genocide prevention. Convened on an invitation-only basis, its aim was to discuss and recommend practical ways in which outside actors - state and non-state as well as local, regional, and global - could realistically aim to help improve the situation of the North Korean population.

About Salzburg Global Seminar: 

Salzburg Global Seminar is a fully independent non-profit organization, founded after the Second World War in 1947 during a period of extraordinary transition - physical, economic, social, and cultural. At this disrupted and unstable moment in history, its establishment represented an inspirational undertaking - an institution created by young people to develop globally aware leaders and one of the first international organizations designed to connect current leaders to the next generation of young people working to drive social and economic regeneration.

For nearly 70 years, Salzburg Global's strategic convening has addressed the principles, values, and leadership responsibilities critical for peace and human dignity to flourish. The organization has a unique track record of creating conditions of trust to bridge cultural, ideological, and geographic divides. It has launched cross-cultural educational programs that drive institutional change, created peace-building initiatives and networks, and worked to support regions, institutions, and sectors in transition. Salzburg Global's programs have connected more than 25,000 participants from 160 countries, creating lasting bonds sustained by the Salzburg Global Network.

Media Contact: Thomas Biebl, Director of Marketing and Communications, Salzburg Global Seminar,