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Journal of Democracy 13.2 (2002) 184-188
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The Third International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees met in Tokyo on 9-10 February. Sponsored by the Seoul-based Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, it was attended by participants from nine countries. The conference concluded with the adoption of the resolution that appears below:
We have gathered here for this 3rd International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees solely because of our deep care and concern for the human rights situation in North Korea and the situation affecting the returnees, detainees and abductees in North Korea. We believe that the North Korean regime is the paramount human rights violator of our time.
We affirm that the people of North Korea are entitled to the human rights enjoyed by free people everywhere and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The government of North Korea has obligated itself to protect these rights by becoming a state party to both the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
We pledge to continue to work as organizations and as individuals to do all that we can to bring the light of human rights to North Korea. In addition to the activities we have pledged to undertake during this session, we also call for these specific actions:
1) The international community in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees should press China and Russia to allow independent relief organizations to go onsite to help North Korean refugees that have fled North Korea.
2) We call for an immediate end to the forced repatriation of any North Korean refugee requesting shelter.
3) Donors should have full control over the distribution and consumption of food aid to prevent the diversion of this aid from being used to further subjugate the North Korean people. [End Page 184]
4) All contacts between the international community and the government of North Korea should include discussion of the improvement of human rights conditions, particularly the abolition of the political prisoner camps and the release of all political prisoners in North Korea's gulag.
5) We call for the release of all returnees, detainees, and abductees being held in North Korea in violation of their freedom of movement.
6) We call upon the UN Commission on Human Rights during its meeting in March and April to adopt a resolution condemning the human rights record of the DPRK.
7) International human rights groups, especially Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, should provide an accurate and comprehensive portrait of human rights conditions in North Korea.
In conclusion, we pledge to continue to expand the international network of human rights groups devoted to saving the lives of North Koreans; urge our respective governments to pay highest attention to the issue of North Korean human rights; cooperate together in disseminating information on North Korean human rights issues to both government and non-governmental sectors of society including the media; and look forward to participating in the 4th International Conference on North Korean human rights and refugees to be held in Paris.
On January 1, the Argentine Congress chose Eduardo Duhalde as the country's fifth president in two weeks. (For more details on the recent crisis, see the article by Hector E. Schamis on pp. 81-94 of this issue.) Excerpts from Duhalde's first address as president appear below:
I am taking the oath of office with the firm resolve of keeping my word in circumstances which call for dedication and sacrifice from all Argentines.
As you all know, since President De la Rúa's resignation, I have upheld that the responsibility of leading a transition government would be incompatible with any plan to run for president in 2003. Thus, I hereby commit myself to making a great personal effort to resolve the crisis and to hand the presidential sash over to a citizen elected by the Argentine people within two years.
Starting tomorrow, without delegating my responsibility in terms of restoring social peace and the tasks...