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When North Korea Intervenes in Human Rights Event, US Power Says Cut Mic

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 30, with video -- When the US Mission and that of South Korea started an event on human rights in North Korea in UN Conference Room 3 on April 30, on the podium were US Ambassador Samantha Power, UN human rights official Ivan Simonovic and others.

 But early in the proceedings, a trio from the North Korea or DPRK mission began to speak. From the podium, Ambassador Power said to turn off the microphone: "Please shut the mic down... please make sure the mic is not live."

  The speech continued, largely unheard; eventually the North Korea trio left the conference room accompanied by UN Security officers. Inner City Press followed, and asked them if they'd return for a more UN-conventional right of reply. No, was the response.

Update: Inner City Press has obtained North Korea's speech and puts it online here, since the mic was cut off. Inner City Press also asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq what are the UN's rules for cutting off microphones on member states, and use of UN Security.

 As the DPRK trio went up the escalator, a heckler who had followed from the Conference Room shouted at them, "You are human scum!" Video here.
They proceeded up the escalator, through the UN's checkerboard floored lobby and were gone.

 The event was called "Victims’ Voices: A Conversation on North Korean Human Rights," and included author Barbara Demick.

  Back on April 8 the North Korean mission to the UN held a press conference at its office on Second Avenue, at which its Deputy Permanent Representative An Myong Hun denounced the continued detention of the Mudubong ship in Mexico.

  An Myong Hun said that in January Mexico was going to release the ship, which ran into a Mexican coral reef (damage to which North Korea paid for) - then reversed its position, saying that a UN Under Secretary General had told them to hold the ship.

  Inner City Press asked An Myong Hun if that UN Under Secretary General was Angela Kane of Disarmament, soon to be replaced by Kim Won-soo (see Inner City Press' scoop, here). An Myong Hun said that the USG was unnamed - but said the United States was behind the continued "illegal" detention of the ship.

  But, An Myong Hun said, DPRK has not spoken about this with the United States. He was on his way to deliver a speech to the UN Disarmament meeting Inner City Press is also covering.

Here's how An Myong Hung began his press conference:

"One peaceful commercial ship of my country has been detained for more than eight months and we think that this is complete abnormal situation. Mudubong, which was on a peaceful voyage for foreign trade activities, entered into one port at Mexico but unfortunately it went aground on a coral reef near that port. It was totally an accident. Mexico requested payment for damage to the coral reef according to its domestic law. We the DPRK fully paid all this compensation for environmental damage to the reef. And since we fulfilled our legal obligation by payment, Mexico authorities decided to release the Mudubong and allow Mudobong to leave the port, January this year.

"But suddenly, the Mexico government revoked its position. They said they have received advice from an unnamed Under Secretary General of the United Nations for the continued detention of the ship."

  The North Korean mission held another press conference back on February 16, President's Day, when the UN was closed. The purpose then  was to go public with the opposition of the DPRK Korea to the “Conference on North Korean Human Rights” to be held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on February 17.

   Inner City Press asked North Korean Ambassador Jang Il Hun if, as the Korea Times has reported, the event would be held in the US Capitol. No, he said, he expected it would be held on CSIS's campus. The State Department told him that since it is not a US government event - despite the participation of Ambassador Robert King and Kurt Campbell - the DPRK's request for cancellation or participation was not granted.

   But, Jang Il Hun said, why wasn't DPRK allowed to participate in the US goverment event in September 2014 in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel? Inner City Press covered that event, here, and asked the same question, in the spirit of the right to reply.

  Despite the presence of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, and a blue UN flag, Inner City Press was told that was not a “UN event,” so no right to reply.

  Inner City Press also asked Jang Il Hun if UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has replied to his government's recent letter. No, was the answer. Video here and embedded below. And so it goes at the UN.

  This press conference was held a small room at the DPRK mission on Second Avenue; Inner City press tweeted photos here, and here.

  Jang Il Hun said he hoped this would be the first of many such events, part of DPRK's campaign. In the foyer were photographs of gifts given to DPRK, including a signed Wilson basketball. “Now you must leave,” the Press was told. Back at the UN, the temperature was 57 degrees. Watch this site.

Here's the DPRK Mission's statement:

No.4 /02/15

Press Statement of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations

The Permanent Mission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the Unite Nations releases the following press statement with regard to the “Conference on North Korean Human Rights” to be hosted by the United States in Washington D.C.

The United States and south Korea are going to convene so-called "Conference on North Korean Human Rights: the Road Ahead" on 17 February in Washington by bringing together Michael Donald Kirby, former chairman of COI and Marzuki Darusman, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.

The Permanent Mission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations condemns the convening of such human rights gathering as a political human rights plot against the DPRK and makes clear its position as follows;

The "Conference on North Korean Human Rights: the Road Ahead " constitutes a product of the hostile policy of the United States against the DPRK, and it is nothing but a rubbish event for the United States to get rid of the predicament driven at home and abroad, due to the recent confession by the defector of the fabrication of his testimony and to the disclosure of CIA's torture crimes.

We made due request to the U.S. on our participation in the gathering, since we are the party directly concerned. But the U.S. ignored our request for participation because they are afraid of disclosure of their plot for fabrication.

The US is advised to clean up its own human rights ravages. If the U.S. is sincerely interested in human rights, they should, above all, call into question the CIA's torture crimes and the gross human rights violations committed by "national security law" in south Korea, far from clinging to the attempted fabrication of falsehood and plot through such as the kind of above "conference".

The United States does not have qualification at all to talk about human rights situation of other countries, since it is the worst human rights violator in the world.

We, the people of the DPRK are proud of our political and social system chosen by ourselves and we will strongly respond to any attempts to overthrow our system under the pretext of human rights.


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