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Events Protesting DPRK Presidency of Disarmament Conference

August 2, 2011

Events Protesting North Korea’s Presidency of Disarmament Conference

Geneva - North Korea today begins chairing the third part of the 2011 session of the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament (CD), described by UN chief Ban Ki-moon as “the undisputed home of international arms control efforts.” In response, a series of protest events wil take place today next to the CD headquarters at the UN in Geneva, led by UN Watch, a non-governmental watchdog organization.

EVENTS:

Testimony at UN headquarters by North Korean defector Kim Joo-il, at press conference organized by UN Watch. Born in 1973 in North Korea, Kim Joo-il was a captain in the North Korean military where he served for eight years. He escaped and defected in 2005 after witnessing the misery and suffering of his fellow countrymen. Since making his way to the UK in 2007, he has been an advocate for change and democracy in North Korea. “Every day, when I wake up,” he recently told the BBC, “I feel that I want to build a democratic society in North Korea itself.” Kim Joo-il wants the international community to help North Korea change its regime so that the North Korean people can see an end to their misery and live in a democracy that respects their human rights.

NGO Statement Protesting North Korea's Presidency, by international coalition of 25 human rights and non-governmental organizations. The NGO statement, to be presented at a meeting with the UN press corps this morning, will assess North Korea’s suitability to serve as president of the CD during a time when the country flouts UN Security Council resolutions on nuclear weapons and arms proliferation, as well as UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions on its human rights practices.

Demonstration in front of the CD and United Nations European Headquarters, Place des Nations, at 12:30 pm. The vigil will feature an exhibition of drawings of a North Korean concentration camp, co-organized by UN Watch and Free the North Korean Gulag, a non-profit organization created in 2003 by former detainees of a North Korean camp for political prisoners, whose goal is to raise awareness about the numerous gulags existing in North Korea, assist survivors of those camps, and promote human rights and democracy in the country.

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UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). www.unwatch.org

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