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Date : December 15, 2015
HRNK Canada Urges the government for targeted engagement policy

For immediate release
December 10, 2015           

Toronto, Canada - The Council for Human Rights in North Korea("HRNK Canada") urges the Government of Canada to adopt a "targeted engagement policy" toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea("DPRK" or "North Korea"), in lieu of the controlled engagement policy presently in place.

"North Korea is a failed, and failing, totalitarian state as determined by the UN Commission of Inquiry in its February 2014 report, where the people need R2P protection from crimes against humanity("CAH") being committed by the regime," said Kyung B. Lee, President of HRNK Canada. "We need to target the people of North Korea for support and protection from the regime, and we need to target the regime with every form of deterrent at our disposal, including stronger and more enforceable sanctions."

Diplomatic relations between Canada and North Korea were established in 2001 on the premise that engagement offers the best prospect for bringing North Korea into the international community. Since then, Canada has tried constructive engagement for some time, followed by controlled engagement up to now, with little success in terms of their intended objectives.

Most, if not all, of the aid and support extended to North Korea under the constructive engagement policy ended up benefiting the regime, while all the sanctions imposed against North Korea under the controlled engagement policy hardly drew its attention, let alone changed its belligerent behaviour.

"We need a definitive strategy in dealing with North Korea, and should focus on the right target with the right measures," said Alain Dionne, Director of HRNK Canada's Ottawa Chapter. "Specifically, in order to formalize support and protection of the people suffering from CAH, we need to enact the strategy in the form of, say, 'Human Rights in North Korea Act,' for which then-MP Irwin Cotler introduced a motion to the House on June 3, 2015."

"We also need to update and strengthen the SEM(DPRK) Regulations and make them more enforceable, " echoed Kwang Ung Kim, Chair of HRNK Canada's Advisory Board. HRNK Canada made a submission on the same issue to then-Minister Rob Nicholson in May 2015. No progress ensued, though.

The SEM(DPRK) Regulations are special economic measures, banning all imports from and exports to North Korea with certain humanitarian exemptions, enacted in August 2011, in addition to the existing Canadian sanctions passed under the United Nations Act.   

For further information,
Contact Kyung B. Lee
President of HRNK Canada

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