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Joint Statement by IPCNKR*
*International Parliamentarians' Coalition for North Korean Refugees

2nd General Meeting, Tokyo, August 1, 2005

Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948, states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." Human rights for all must be assured to protect the dignity of each individual wherever that person lives in the world.

Parliamentarians of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Japan formed the International Parliamentarians' Coalition for North Korean Refugees (IPCNKR) two years ago to advance the cause of assuring universal human rights in North East Asia and rights of North Korean refugees. The passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act by the United States Congress and similar legislative considerations in South Korea and Japan are some of the important international efforts in which we have advocated the cause.

Despite such efforts, human rights and humanitarian violations in North Korea have persisted. They are seen in North Korea's oppression of its own people, human rights infringement in detention camps, imposition of torture and other cruel punishments on escapees, and the yet-unresolved issues of the past abductions of South Korean and Japanese citizens by the North Korean government.

We, the International Parliamentarians' Coalition for North Korean Refugees, declare our firm commitment, regardless of national interests, party affiliations, and ideological differences, to make every possible international effort to protect the lives and to secure human rights of the North Korean people and refugees.

    1. We demand the North Korean authorities immediately end all humanitarian abuses, including violations of its citizens' human rights, and take every possible concrete measure to improve the human rights situation in North Korea.
    2. The government of the People's Republic of China refuses to recognize North Korean citizens, who cross the border between North Korea and China in search of freedom and out of fear of starvation and oppression, as convention refugees, instead arresting and sending them back to North Korea, and moreover, unjustly arresting and detaining those persons who are providing them with humanitarian assistance. We urge the Chinese government to provide refugees and aid workers with the appropriate humanitarian and human rights protection in accordance with the international treaties to which it is a signatory.
    3. We demand the United Nations and other international organizations investigate the state of general human rights in North Korea, including actual conditions within detention camps, as well as the living and sanitary condition of the North Korean refugees who are located near the border of North Korea and China. We request these organizations announce their findings to the international community to bolster international efforts to improve the human rights situation of the North Korean people and North Korean refugees. Rather than having all food and relief assistance to North Korea from all nations serve political and military purposes, humanitarian aid must essentially be pursued for promoting and assisting the human rights of the North Korean people.
    4. We urge the legislative bodies of the Republic of Korea, Japan and other nations to approve a North Korean human rights relief bill and to take all necessary actions to investigate North Korean human rights violations including those related to the abduction issues, to actively promote human rights relief efforts, and to assist international, governmental, and non-governmental organizations carrying out work aimed at improving the human rights situation.
    5. We urge the members of the Six-Party Talks to place North Korean humanitarian concerns, including human rights violations within North Korean detention camps and the abductions issues, on its agenda with a strong and unified commitment to resolve them.