Canada Welcomes Nomination of UN Special Rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights

(No. 201 - June 24, 2010 - 4 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement welcoming the recent nomination of Marzuki Darusman as the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea:

“Canada welcomes the nomination of Mr. Darusman as the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea. We look forward to working with him to address the humanitarian and human rights situations in North Korea. We call on the Government of North Korea to cooperate with Mr. Darusman and to allow him access to the country.

“We wish to thank Vitit Muntarbhorn for his efforts during his six-year term as special rapporteur. Throughout his mandate, Mr. Muntarbhorn reported on the many challenges faced by the people of North Korea and made numerous recommendations, which have been largely ignored, for the North Korean government to improve its human rights record.

“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

We remain gravely concerned by North Korea’s continued disregard for individual rights and overall lack of basic freedoms, including freedom of religion, association and expression. We are deeply disturbed by ongoing reports of arbitrary detentions, public executions, torture and labour camps, the application of collective punishment and the cruel treatment of repatriated asylum-seekers, as well as the unequal distribution of food, which disproportionally affects the most vulnerable.”

The people of North Korea deserve to have their voices heard and to enjoy the fundamental rights to which they are entitled without fear of violence or intimidation.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874