A special two-day Parliamentary hearing will be held this week on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 and Thursday 3 February 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM in Room 237-C, Centre Block of the Canadian House of Parliament in Ottawa. Organized by the Sub-Committee for International Human Rights, Parliament of Canada, the hearing will be chaired by Scott Reed, Member of Parliament. Other involved MPs include Peter Kent, Judy Sgro, Irwin Cotler, Wayne Marston, Barry Devolin, Peter Julian and Jean Dorion.
More information may be found in the press release of the Toronto-based Council for Human Rights in North Korea, reprinted below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2011
Re: Parliamentary Hearing on Human Rights of North Koreans
Toronto, Canada – In response to the persistent petitions submitted by the Council for Human Rights in North Korea (“HRNK Canada”), and thanks to the extensive support of the Members of Parliament, including Hon. Peter Kent, Hon. Judy Sgro, Hon. Irwin Cotler, Mr. Wayne Marston, Mr. Barry Devolin, Mr. Peter Julian and Mr. Jean Dorion, among others, the Sub-Committee for International Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament (“Sub-Committee”), chaired by Mr. Scott Reid, is holding a two-day hearing on February 1st and February 3rd 2011 as a part of its study on the situation of North Korean refugees in China, as well as the human rights abuses in North Korea.
Kyung B. Lee, President of the HRNK Canada, states, “I want to quote Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s words, so concise and articulate, which reflect the principle of our Canadian government. He mentioned that ‘we have a solemn duty to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, to protect and promote human rights, human dignity, at home and abroad.’” “By extension, Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated on the occasion marking Human Rights Day last December that ‘Canada continues to raise the unacceptable human rights situation in North Korea. Its people suffer under oppressive conditions, including forced labour, extra-judicial executions, collective punishment, torture, and indefinite detention of political prisoners in prison camps.’” Mr. Lee commented, “It sounds like he made the opening remarks in advance for the Hearing.”
On the specific issue of North Korean refugees in China, Mr. Wayne Marston, a member of the Sub-Committee, issued a statement the other day that said, “Despite its protestations, China has a moral as well as a strong legal obligation to not return North Korean refugees to North Korea. North Koreans who managed to escape to China have every reason indeed to fear persecution and, according to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its1967 Protocol, should not be sent back to North Korea to face imprisonment, torture and, as is all too often the case, death. This is international law and China should abide by it.”
The Hearing will comprise of three (3) testimonies to be made by Hye Sook Kim, a North Korean defector who underwent a subhuman livelihood in the North Korean political prison camp for 28 years from February 1975 to August 2002, and by Dr. Norbert Vollertsen, a German doctor who was expelled by the North Korean authority in December 2000 after 18 months of medical practice there. Their testimonies will be focused on the atrocities that are being committed in the political prison camps called Kwan-li-so, the statelessness and forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees in China, and the ‘induced starvation’ in North Korea. In addition, Mr. Kyung B. Lee will deliver a presentation on the petition for a Parliamentary Resolution brought forward by the Korean Canadian community.
For further information,
Contact Kyung B. Lee,
President of HRNK Canada