GENEVA – North Korea today began chairing the summer plenary of the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament, eliciting a boycott by the Canadian government and a sharp protest by 28 non-governmental organizations. Menawhile, Burma, Iran, Nigeria and Norway offered varying degress of congratulations to the North Korean chair. For more on today’s plenary, click here.
- Joint appeal by 28 human rights NGOs
- Remarks by N. Korean defector Kim Joo-il at UN press conference: Transcript Audio
- NGO protest in front of CD headquarters in Geneva: Photos YouTube Video
- Photos of today’s CD plenary chaired by North Korea
“Allowing an international outlaw to oversee international arms control efforts is just plain wrong,” advocacy group U.N. Watch’s director Hillel Neuer said today. “North Korea is a ruthless regime that menaces its neighbors and starves its own people, and should not be granted the propaganda coup of heading a world body dedicated to peace.”
Canada is boycotting the conference until North Korea’s presidency expires in September.
Former North Korean army captain Kim Joo-il, a defector now living in Britain, told a Geneva press conference organized by UN Watch this week that the regime is using its presidency “as propaganda for manipulating its residents,” to “perpetuate idolatry” of dictator Kim Jong-il and the “slavery” of North Koreans.
“Even if the presidency of North Korea of the Conference on Disarmament remains only for one hour — not even a week or a month — it is symbolic. The support of the international community is going to push North Korean residents even more into the hell that they are already living in right now,” he said.