UN Watch urges US & EU to follow Canada, protest N. Korea’s chairing UN disarmament

GENEVA — UN Watch thanked Canada today for being first in the world to answer its call on UN member states to protest North Korea’s presidency of a UN disarmament body. Click here for Canadian statement.

“We now call on the U.S., the EU, and all other UN member states to follow Canada’s lead and demand that this arch-enemy of peace and human rights surrender its presidency to a more credible country,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights monitoring group.

“It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”

(For original UN announcement, see “Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea Assumes Presidency Of The Conference On Disarmament.”)

“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea was handed a propaganda coup with the presidency of the UN disarmament conference,” said Neuer.

“While some UN insiders are defending North Korea’s appointment as simply an automatic rotation,” said Neuer, “Canada agreed with UN Watch that no system should tolerate such a fundamental conflict of interests. It’s common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world’s worst villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation, notorious for exporting missiles and nuclear know-how to fellow rogue regimes around the globe.”

The UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned North Korea for launching rockets, and has imposed sanctions related to its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction. Earlier this month, the US Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of illegally carrying missile parts to Burma.

The Conference of Disarmament reports to the UN General Assembly and is billed by the UN as “the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.”

According to a UN summary, North Korea’s So Se Pyong assumed the presidency on Tuesday, assuring the panel that he was “very much committed to the Conference.” He invited proposals to strengthen “the work and credibility of the body,” and said he would do “everything in his capacity to move the Conference on Disarmament forward.”

“All of the delegations who took the floor,” reported the UN’s summary, welcomed the North Korean’s presidency, and said that “they looked forward to his stewardship” and to working with him “to revitalize and strengthen the Conference.”

According to the UN summary of speeches, China’s Wang Qun “welcomed the presidency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Nigeria’s Kayode Laro said “the presidency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would have the full support of the Nigerian delegation.”

Iran’s Mohammad Hassan Daryaei said: “Let me congratulate you for the assumption of the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. I am confident that under your able guidance, the CD can have fruitful meetings. I assure you the full cooperation of my delegation.”

India’s Hamid Ali Rao: “Mr. President… allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of this important responsibility.”

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