Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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August 17, 2023

Let me start by thanking the US Presidency and you Mme President, for organizing this important meeting.

I thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, for his insightful briefing. We fully concur with his assessment on the importance of this meeting and the direct link of the human rights situation with peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Mme. Special Rapporteur, thank you for your sober assessment. Of all rapporteurs of the UN on human rights issues, you have something close to an impossible task. We commend you for the efforts and the commitment in addressing the disastrous Human Rights Situation in the most secretive and tyrannical state turned into an information black hole.

Mr. Kim, I am deeply touched by your powerful account. It resonates personally to me and, I am sure, to everyone who has lived under a brutal dictatorship. Thank you for being here and help us to seriously reflect on how the international community should react in the face of the brutal misery that over 25 million North Koreans continue to experience daily, with no end in sight.


The last meeting on this issue in the Council was held 6 years ago. Therefore, this meeting is long overdue and could not be timelier. We are not going back in time, we are just bringing the Council up to speed.

Because, as we heard clearly and explicitly by all our briefers, during these six long years, the situation of human rights in North Korea has not improved, it has worsened; the number of people suffering from violations has increased, and the collective misery brutally imposed by a draconian, paranoid and criminal regime has expanded.

Mme President,

Let me shortly explain why this meeting is necessary, important, timely and useful.

This meeting is a moment to shed a bit of light on the darkness of a country where the regime does not tolerate pluralism; where independent media, civil society organizations, and trade unions are banned.

A country where all basic liberties, including freedom of expression, public assembly, association, and religion are systematically denied.

A regime that uses fear and inflicts collective punishment to silence dissent, that routinely send those perceived as opponents to secretive political prison camps where they are subject to torture, starvation and forced labor.

It is the bizarre place in the world where the government decides on what you read, what you watch, even what you should think.

If, God forbid! you are caught watching a foreign movie not sanctioned by the government, or speaking to a foreigner, such “reactionary behavior”, as they call them, will be severely punished, including with death sentences.

For all these reasons, this meeting is a strong message of solidarity with an entire population trapped inside a country wide prison. The message is; we will not forget you;

It is an expression of sympathy and support for all those who, after having escaped the labor camps, are praying not to be repatriated back to DPRK in compliance with the principle of non-refoulement.

It is a manifestation of support for all political prisoners and all those forced to work in concentration camps.

It is a meeting for all the malnourished children who are entitled to healthy upbringing, not starvation; who need quality education; not military parades; for all the women and girls forcibly trafficked and subject of sexual violence from high-ranking military officials in detention centers, held in inhumane conditions and deprived from food.


This meeting is also a call to a regime whose priority and obsession is and remains militarization, more weapons, more missiles more warmongering policies. The unlawful WMD and ballistic programme are developed in open disregard of the Security Council decisions and the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations committed by the DPRK institutions and officials serve DPRK unlawful activities. The regime is steeling food on the family table, is denying medicine to hospitals, is starving people in labor camps, is using children only to invest in its nuclear and ballistic program.

These have been reported continuously by independent UN rapporteurs and other credible reports, and were confirmed this morning by the High Commissioner.

This is why this meeting is also another attempt to rally the Security Council to stand up against policies and actions that put in serious danger peace and security in the Korean peninsula. As the special rapporteur highlighted, the DPRK regime must be held accountable, not shielded in its repeated flagrant breaches of international law and human rights.

Madame President,

There so much more to say, but I would like to conclude with a few words, wishing that, in a way or another, they be heard somewhere in North Korea. It is personal account, like the one we heard from Kim.

A bit more than three decades ago, like most of my compatriots, I was living under a similar regime, just like the current one in North Korea. So paranoid that it had crumbled upon itself, totally self-isolated and forgotten in its madness, having invested for decades in what it considered to be the best defense weapon: bunkers.

Hundreds of thousands of concrete monsters of all sizes were built and planted everywhere, used as an effective propaganda tool to convince a recluse population we could resist every foreign attack. An attack that never came because no one had any intentions to attack my country, except for the need of the sick thoughts of the nomenclatura to subjugate its people with fear.

When youth fomented change, in early nineties, when our part of the Berlin wall fell, we discovered that the only things we were left with were: our absolute misery and the bunkers.

Fast-forward and in the course of three decades my country has developed more than during the last three hundred years.

It did not happen by any miracle, but simply due to one simple thing: you go farer and faster by investing in people, in rights, in freedoms, in cooperation with neighbors and in openness with the world. Those who for decades were considered our worst enemies turned to be our best friends.

If ever North Korea was looking for a lessons-learned, this is one: weapons will never change the country; they will never feed the population; they will never bring prosperity.

Instead, freedom, rule of law, education, health, investment in human capital, cooperation and trade with neighbors will shorter the path to future, a future they deserve. They don’t need to go too far: just have a look across the DMZ, at the South.

This is why, as Council members, and I hope, as friends with North Korean people, we should consider a duty to raise our voice against all the human rights violations because, rights or their absence determine everything for the people, those we all have committed to put in the centre of our attention and work, and, as proven, have a direct impact on peace and security, in the DPRK and everywhere.

Thank you.

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