- Press Releases
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jongmoon Delivers Statement at High-Level Segment of 46th Session of UN Human Rights Council
1. On the afternoon of February 23, Geneva time, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jongmoon delivered a pre-recorded statement at the High-level Segment of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is taking place in a virtual format from February 22 to 24. In his statement, the Vice Minister relayed the Korean government’s commitment to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights.
2. Vice Minister Choi pointed out that COVID-19 has been leaving deep wounds and scars around the world, including growing economic and social inequalities and hatred and discrimination, underscoring the need to respond to COVID-19 and prepare for the post-COVID-19 world based on human rights and democratic principles.
° The Vice Minister reiterated the Korean government’s support for fair and equitable access to vaccines and treatments, and a multilateral approach in fighting against this pandemic.
° The Vice Minister voiced hope that all the related countries would join the “Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health,” which had been launched last December following President Moon Jae-in’s proposal at the UN General Assembly.
° Speaking of the pros and cons of digital technology in the COVID-19 situation, the Vice Minister asked for each country’s support and participation in the Human Rights Council resolution on “new and emerging technologies and human rights” to be tabled under the leadership of the Korean government at the 47th session this June.
3. Vice Minister Choi, calling sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings an urgent issue that must be dealt with, mentioned that it is crucial to not forget the victims and survivors of such violence.
° The Vice Minister stressed that current and future generations should learn valuable lessons from the painful experience of the so-called “comfort women” victims from World War II.
° The Vice Minister emphasized that the tragedy of the “comfort women” must be addressed as a universal human rights issue and that the recurrence of such grave violations of human rights in conflict must be prevented. He added that the Korean government will keep endeavoring to restore the dignity and honor of the “comfort women” victims with a survivor-centered approach at the core.
4. Vice Minister Choi explained that the Korean government has had profound interest in and concerns over the human rights situation in North Korea and been endeavoring to substantively improve the human rights of the North Korean people in cooperation with the international community. He also expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in North Korea, underlining the need to continue paying attention to this humanitarian situation.
° He conveyed hope that North Korea would respond to the Korean government’s repeated calls for a lasting resolution to the tragedy of separated families, which remains one of the most urgent humanitarian and human rights matters.
5. Vice Minister Choi also expressed deep concern over the current situation in Myanmar, reaffirmed the Korean government’s utmost respect for the Myanmar people’s aspiration for democracy that was demonstrated in the general election last November, and voiced hope that the issue would be resolved peacefully, in adherence with a lawful and democratic process.