Irwin Cotler moved, — Whereas, Ms. Shin Sook-ja and her two daughters, Oh Hye-won and Oh Gyu-won (“Ms. Shin and her two daughters”), are citizens of the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”), who have been detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”) since 1986;
Whereas, Ms. Shin and her two daughters went to North Korea from the Federal Republic of Germany (“Germany”) where they resided, along with Oh Kil-nam, Ms. Shin’s husband and her daughters’ father, who was enticed into defection to North Korea in 1985 while studying in Germany;
Whereas, Oh Kil-nam escaped from North Korea to Germany via Denmark in 1986 and, as a consequence, Ms. Shin and her two daughters were imprisoned, under the collective punishment system, in the notorious Yoduk political prison camp called No.15 Kwan-li-so in North Korea;
Whereas, one North Korean defector, who had lived near Ms. Shin and her two daughters in Yoduk camp for three years until released in 1994 and now lives in South Korea, recalled that Ms. Shin was physically incapacitated there and her two daughters were skin and bones due to unbearable forced labour. He further testified that he could confirm their survival up until 2003 through an officer that he was acquainted with in the camp;
Whereas, a petition drive has been launched in South Korea and spread around the world, including Canada, requesting the United Nations Secretary-General to intervene in the case of Ms. Shin and her two daughters and, if still alive, allow their return home;
Whereas, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed a common standard of achievement toward which all member states must strive, including respect for the following rights:
• Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him;
• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile;
• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
• Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country;
And whereas, the DPRK is a member state of the United Nations.
Be it resolved that this Subcommittee adopt this motion to:
1. Condemn the Government of the DPRK for the collective punishment, arbitrary detention, and the inhuman treatment of the inmates, amounting to crimes against humanity, in the political prison camps called Kwan-li-so; and
2. Call upon the Government of Canada to: (a) request the UN Secretary-General to intervene in the case of Ms. Shin and her two daughters and, if still alive, allow their return home; (b) demand, along with the governments of other UN member states, including those of South Korea and Germany, that the Government of the DPRK provide confirmation of the fate of Ms. Shin and her two daughters and, if still alive, allow their return home; and (c) use, along with the governments of other UN member states, all available means to put pressure on the Government of the DPRK for the dismantlement of the political prison camps called Kwan-li-so and the release of the inmates therein.